ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In life, defining moments come few and far between. For Navy Veteran Byron Moore, the last three seconds of Hardin Simmons University’s (HSU) 1990 basketball game against Georgia Southern was one such moment.

“It was everybody’s last game at Hardin-Simmons and everybody came with a different energy… Bill came and set a pick,” said Moore. “I took two dribbles to the right and just launched it.”

Moore plays against Eastern New Mexico (1988)

His three-point shot brought them ahead by one, winning the game 65-64 for HSU.

“We had a packed house, he hits the shot our guys were ecstatic,” said former HSU Sports Information Officer Jimmy Pogue.

This was the final game the university played before moving from Division I to Division III. While that last second basket gave the team a strong note to finish on, Moore wouldn’t get the same resolution when it came to his education.

The team split, some heading to other D1 schools and others finding new opportunities. Moore made plans to play ball at Eastern New Mexico, where he would have finished his degree.

The deal fell through and Moore found himself in manufacturing. Moving through a myriad of jobs through the years to provide for his growing family, successful and happy, but every now and then still thinking about that degree.

“Well I always had it in the back of my mind, but when you have a family you have to really make a plan to go back to school,” Moore explained.

In 2015, Moore found himself with two grown children and a bit more time on his hands. So, he called up an old friend and made the move he’d been thinking about for 25 years.

“He called me up, we started talking and he said I’m coming back to school,” Pogue recollected. “My first question was, ‘why?'”

Moore returned to HSU, enrolled in his courses, even got an apartment to finish out strong. But like before, the timing just didn’t seem to work out.

“I think I should have stayed home and did online, because it just didn’t feel right,” Moore explained.

Back with his family, Moore looked for a better way to get his degree on his terms. That program would come around in 2020 and he’d enroll in 2022.

Moore at HSU graduation (2022)

“He needed, I think two more courses that were both offered online. So he could take one in the fall and one in the spring, and then he graduated in May,” said HSU Registrar, Kacey Higgins.

The University’s new General Studies major offered a path for HSU’s would-be graduates to finish out their education with a tailored path to graduation.

“Regular majors require a minimum of 30 hours with prescribed courses in a department,” Higgins explained.

The General Studies major allows students to, in a sense, mix and match course hours adding up to 48 total hours in two concentrations. It requires a minimum of 18 hours in one field – a much broader learning base with a more flexible and achievable goal.

“We’ve had 30 students graduate so far with the General Studies major,” said Higgins. “And we have 13 currently.”

Moore told KTAB/KRBC walking across the stage with his wife there to cheer him on was one of the better feelings he’s experienced, and one more chance for another life-defining moment.

“It felt good,” Moore added. “It felt really good.”