What do former United States Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have in common with OTC graduate Wade Southwell? They’re all Yale men.
Wade began attending the Ivy League institution in the fall of 2015. However, Wade did not take the usual route to Yale. He made his way to Springfield and OTC looking for a fresh start after living on the West Coast, where he battled addiction issues.
While a student at OTC, Wade studied language for a year in South Africa, and now he lives in New Haven, Conn., where he is the latest in a line of OTC students to attend some of the nation’s most prestigious universities.
While at OTC, Wade applied for and received the prestigious Boren Scholarship, which is sponsored by the United States State Department. The scholarship provided Wade with the means to go to South Africa to study the Zulu language. Boren scholars study languages that are of strategic interest to the U.S. government. He was the only person from southwest Missouri to ever earn one of the esteemed grants.
“While working with Wade in his pursuit to qualify for the prestigious Boren Scholarship, his tenacity and unrelenting attitude were demonstrated throughout the process,” said Loren Lundstrom, OTC’s dean of student development. “It was obvious he had lots of experience in life overcoming roadblocks. He is an astonishing young man.”
Wade knew setting his sights on Yale was a lofty goal. It was OTC that inspired him to attend an Ivy League school.
“The OTC slogan of ‘Start Here, Go Anywhere’ really inspired me, along with faculty and the OTC Honors Program,” he said.
Wade applied to Yale, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. All but Brown accepted him for admission. Now, after several semesters at Yale, Wade said the university is great and offers students “a thousand things to do every day.” “It’s Disneyland for nerds,” he said.
“Classes are stimulating, thought provoking and challenging — everything I hoped they would be,” he added.
Wade said he misses OTC, but knows he’s headed in the right direction.
“I saw myself as a successful student,” he said. “I might have been naive at first to think I could do this, but here I am, really doing this.”
And who knows where his next destination will be? For a Yale man, it could be “anywhere.”