JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It seems that it’s back to school for Missouri’s former House Speaker, Rod Jetton.
In a Facebook post late Monday night, Jetton announced that he would be moving to Greece to work on his Master of Arts degree at the University of Macedonia.
“I had a dream as a kid in college to be a history professor, but life just kind took me in other directions,” Jetton said. “I’ve never had the chance, so I guess I’m at a point in my life where I can go and do it.”
Many will wonder why Greece, to which Jetton says it’s the opportunity to immerse himself in the culture and really experience things in a way he wouldn’t be able to do in the U.S.
“I’ve always been intrigued with that region. It’s been such a pivotal place in history,” he said. “Greece makes for such a hot topic because of their financial situation in the European Union.”
The master’s program he plans to undertake focuses on the politics and economics of eastern and southeastern Europe with a focus on how the refugee crisis is impacting the EU and the countries in this region. And though Jetton does not speak any Greek, the program also allows for a foreign language class, which he will use to learn to speak Greek.
Jetton’s time in the Missouri legislature is both one of marvel and trials. The former Marine from Marble Hill rose to power, going from Bollinger County commissioner to leader of the Missouri House of Representatives in less than a decade. He was first elected to the House in 2000, where he helped Missouri Republicans cement control of the legislature as Speaker from 2005 to 2009, as well as leading to a number of Republican priorities being passed.
Now at the age of 49, Jetton turns to another new trail: university studies.
“Taking the plunge at my age and going back to school is a big thing, and I was hesitant, but then the last few months I decided to pull the trigger,” he said. “Everyone talks about it, about going and traveling, but why not? I don’t want to be sitting there 15 years from now and wondering what if. Someday is the code word for never.”
When asked what the hardest part of this decision will be, Jetton says it will be leaving his family. He figures that to get his masters and doctorate, it could take up to five years. But he says that he still is uncertain about where he will go for his doctorate, saying he may return home to the U.S. or take a look at another European country.
“Now I have to sell my house and all my stuff. It’s a little weird to be a poor college student again, but at least this time I’m a bit wiser,” he wrote in the post. “I’ll still update my Facebook page and if you get to Europe be sure to stop in and see me at Thessaloniki!”
PHOTO/FACEBOOK – ROD JETTON, OCTOBER 2016