Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: A 2016 Contender But Not A College Graduate

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Douglas Graham / CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on March 16, 2013.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is an eagle scout and a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. One thing he isn’t is a college graduate, and that may soon change.

Walker left Marquette University in his senior year before finishing his degree. In a meeting with reporters last week hosted by National Review, Walker explained the surprising gap in his resume. In his second and third years at school, Walker worked part-time for IBM in Milwaukee. Shortly before senior year, the local IBM office was relocated to Illinois, but Walker’s client, the American Red Cross, offered him a job, which turned out to be full time.

“The reason I went to college, in large part, was not just to get an education for an education’s sake, but to get a job,” Walker said of his decision to drop out of school. At first he tried to be a part time student, but quickly the births of his children took that option off the table.

The missing bachelors may seem odd, but it’s one reason Walker’s appeal in the GOP is only rising. Unlike New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, most Americans would have no trouble imagining sharing a beer with Walker, the age-old likability test. “I always thought I’d get back, and I may still do,” Walker said, explaining he recently helped establish a “flex option” at the University of Wisconsin to allow adults to complete their college education. “Someday, maybe in the next few years, I’ll embark on finishing my degree.”

And if he finishes it up before 2016, it’s just another accomplishment to highlight on the race to the White House.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sen. Rand Paul as from Texas. He represents Kentucky.