UK grad beats odds to earn master’s degree


Drexler Blue received his master’s degree during UK’s Dec. 14 commencement ceremony.

Addison Lander

On Dec. 14, UK held its commencement ceremony for students who had earned their diploma by the end of the fall semester. It was a grand celebration of high accomplishments.

This was especially the case for Drexler Blue, who attended the ceremony to receive his master’s degree following a long, hard-fought journey.

Blue made a post on Twitter the day before the ceremony to show the true scale of his achievement. His tweet read, “Y’all remember the boy who was ineligible in high school, couldn’t go D1 because he got a 16 on the ACT, had to get into college on academic probation? Well, he just finished his Master’s program at the University of Kentucky & earned a 3.9 GPA…!”

Blue’s Twitter profile name is “Neighborhood Hero,” making it clear that he wants to send a message to not only the people from his home neighborhood of East Harlem but to youth in general that if he could go all the way to getting his master’s degree, so can they.

“I just want [the people] to know [that] at all costs, don’t give up because you never know who’s going to be inspired by your journey,” Blue said.

Blue hopes his story helps to inspire others. When asked what his initial plans were when he started college, he recalled how he never really had a desire to seek higher education from the beginning. Then he thought about how people, especially the youth, in his area looked up to him. He also highlighted that several people he grew up with “are dead or in prison.”

These factors culminated to motivate him to become a leader and “show them another way out.” His motivation was successful in driving him all the way to obtaining his graduate degree. Blue is especially proud because he is the first African American student from his high school graduating class to make it as far as a master’s degree.

His friend of six years, Jalen Rose, met him when he was studying at Eastern Kentucky University to earn his bachelor’s degree. Rose recalled they both played football at the university, and in addition, were involved in multiple organizations together.

Rose commented on Blue’s character, saying he is a “strong-willed, passionate young man with a promising future,” continuing on to emphasize that this was especially important, “due to the type of environment he originates from.”

Blue obtained his master’s degree in hospitality, management, and tourism, and intends to focus on the hospitality and management side to work as a manager for musicians, actors and more.