Derrell “D.J.” Haire has been a Fayetteville, North Carolina, city councilman since 1998. He owns various businesses, is married with children and holds a ministerial license. By all accounts, he’s highly successful. However, Haire says there was one thing others couldn’t see about his life.

“I started at A&T in 1977, but I never finished,” he said. Haire accepted a co-op position and eventually began working full time. “There was always something missing. The emptiness was always inside me. Even though I accomplished goals, I was thankful for those things, but there was an emptiness there.”

“At one point I thought getting my degree was just one thing I wouldn’t get.”

That all changed when he heard of the Aggies at the Goal Line program. After a series of encounters, phone conversations, meetings, and a deep dive into registrar archives, Haire was told he already had a significant amount of credit hours and only needed to change his major and take an additional 15 hours and he would have his degree.

Later, a deeper review showed he only needed 12 more hours, Logics included among them. It was a course he dreaded, but was up for the challenge. In fact, he began class assignments before the course actually opened. But it was what occurred weeks later that sent his excitement into overdrive.

He said he received a phone call that he noticed he had gotten before, but didn’t answer because he thought it was a scam. Much to his surprise and delight, when he finally answered, it was a university representative calling to say that another review of his records revealed that he had over 150 credit hours and had everything in order to graduate in August.

He was beyond stunned.

“Because of how I live and believe I wasn’t trying to figure it out or understand it,” he said. “God did it. I don’t know what happened. I was just thankful and so humble.” He was so thankful, he wanted to drive to Greensboro to get it that day.

Since then, he has been a huge advocate for the program, telling family and friends of their options and never to give up.

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