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Life, according to Andy Kulina ’87 (part 2) – deciding Thomas More was the place to be

Submitted by Lyna Kelley, director of communications and PR, and Judy Crist, executive director of communications and creative services

In summer 2023, Moreover interviewed alumnus Andy Kulina about his live since graduating in 1987. In this portion of the interview, he explains how he came to Thomas More University and speaks to the benefits a liberal arts education has for students in general and for him in particular, in becoming a well-rounded person.

Q:  How did you come to Thomas More?

Andy: It’s funny. There was this guy, way back when, called Steve Hirsch, who was the tennis coach, but he was also in the admissions department. I’m sure you guys still do those admission fairs where they go around. I lived in Columbus and Thomas More is one of the schools that came to our high school. He (Steve) was actually chatting to another guy, whom I played tennis with in high school, who was the state champion. I was good but wasn’t that good. I still swear, to this day, the only reason I came to Thomas More is he was inviting Pete to come down and Pete goes, “Well, I don’t drive. Hey, Andy plays tennis and Andy’s got a car.” So, you got me. I got an athletic scholarship and I got the James Graham Brown scholarship as well. So yeah, that sort of did it because it was less expensive to go to Thomas More than it was to stay home and go to Ohio State, and I wanted to play tennis.

Thomas More had a thing where you could go for three years, you got a degree in physics and then you automatically got accepted to a master’s program at a list of schools, like Purdue, Notre Dame, there were some really good schools. So, as a chance I was coming up for three years and play tennis, get my degree, and then go on and do what I was going to do but I ended up not doing that, I switch majors to computer science; enjoyed that and enjoyed my time too much to go. Glad I did, I mean, classes were small, I think my freshman physics class had about 14 people in it. It was small, which is very important because the first day – you think the first day of school is going to be meet everybody and say where you’re from, right? We had a sister that taught it (physics) and she had been there forever. She came in and was like, “All right, let’s get to work, we’ll meet each other later.” The first thing she did, she drew a squiggly line on the board. I raised my hand and said, “What’s that?” She looked at me and said, “We don’t have time for any jokers in this class. Don’t tell me you don’t know what an integral is?” And I said, “No.” She said, “Have you taken calculus yet?” I said, “I’ve got calculus next.” The first thing I had to do was go home and read three chapters ahead in my math book just so I can catch up in physics – I said, “This college thing is going to be hard.” If I would have ended up at a big university; one – chances of success would not have been as good because in a smaller class at least you can get more attention. I survived long enough as a physics major to realize that I liked computer science better and being able to make that switch, not flunking out; being able to catch up and get that type of help was important. When I talk about Thomas More, I talk more about, I don’t know if the structure is still the same, but it being liberal arts; we had to take six hours of arts, six hours of theology, six hours of business, six hours of humanities. Some of those classes that you wouldn’t have necessarily taken, it just makes you a more well-rounded person. There was one called Justice and the Law, I remember he was a former student at Thomas More who taught it, but he taught you how to debate, how to research, how to think, mock trials and things like that. I was very much science focused but you took time out of your day and did something like that, and it makes the other side of your brain work. We had to take six hours of art. I took Ballet, Tap, and Ethnic Dance 1 and 2. We still to this day joke around that I was a couple classes away from having an associate degree in ballet. It was stuff like that, you just mixed it around and that whole kind of potpourri of learning and experiences – in playing sports, in knowing the people that you went to school with.