For the past 22 years, Don Sheeran has been a network technician at CenturyLink, working outside on poles and in backyards. But about 8 years ago, he realized he wanted a slightly less physical job that he could continue doing into his 70s.
“I always wanted to be an inventor,” he told KOIN 6 News. So he began talking about taking classes part time at Portland State University when his son was in middle school.
On Sunday — Father’s Day — Don Sheeran and his son Jake will both graduate with engineering degrees from Portland State University.
“I think it’s great,” Jake, 23, said. “I’ve gone through all my college and pretty much all my high school watching my dad do all of his classes.”
“I’m proud to be getting a degree along with Jake,” said Don, who is nearly 58. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Don’s BA degree is in mechanical engineering, while Jake’s is in electrical engineering. They didn’t see each other often on campus but did have a finance class together.
“It was fun. He actually alerted me that a final was sooner than I thought it was,” Jake said. “Dad saved me a little bit in that class.”
He said he thought his dad was a little bit crazy at first, but “my dad definitely impacted the degree I decided to choose.”
Asked what his dad is like, Jake laughed when his dad said, “No pressure, son.”
“He’s very kind and hard working, incredibly hard working,” Jake said. “Hopefully I can be like him one day.”
Jake intends to continue his education to earn a masters degree and “perhaps far, far in the future I’ll get a Ph.D in physics, but that’s if I can gather the hardworkingness of my dad.”
Don is ready for his new challenge.
“The job I have right now has been challenging and it’s a new challenge every day,” he said. “But I’m ready to do something different and I think this will be a good transition for me for when I finally decide to hang up the hat, if you will, and be an inventor. I think I have the chops now to get started.”
There will be no sleeping in on this Father’s Day for the Sheerans. The PSU graduation ceremony is Sunday morning and Don said he’s glad he gets to graduate with his son.
“I thought about that a long time ago,” he said. “I’m glad it worked out.”