May 14—A decade later, Evan Marshall finally is a Kansas State graduate. Marshall, a relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, was 50 credits and three semesters shy of earning his degree when the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He returned to K-State following the 2017 MLB season.
Though he won't be in attendance for the university's graduation ceremonies this weekend — he'll be busy in Chicago's bullpen during the team's home series against AL Central division rival Kansas City — it doesn't change the fact he's now an alum; Marshall majored in business management and minored in marketing.
He took the final exam of his college career Tuesday.
"First off I'm extremely proud," Marshall told MLB.com. "It's been hard. (I'm the) first one in my family, so I owed it to them to follow through with this. I didn't do anything for five or six years, so it made going back even harder, one or two, three classes at a time, first semester quietly getting them done.
"When you finish and are drafted, they put the remaining amount of school money aside for you and Kansas State has a special fund where they want their athletes to graduate. So whatever Major League Baseball didn't cover, (K-State was) eager to pick up for me just to help me get along."
The coronavirus pandemic made things easier for the 31-year-old Marshall to balance school and work.
"Because they relaxed the proctoring protocols from my classes," he said, "so I got to schedule it a little better around my times instead of me having to schedule around their times, plus baseball."
Legendary White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Marshall "sets an example" everyone should follow.
"I definitely applaud him," La Russa said. "I congratulated him. That's an accomplishment: deciding you want to do it and taking the time to do it. And it's a very important credential to have."
A native of Sunnyvale, Calif., Marshall said K-State athletics counselor Jamie Hamor played a key role throughout the process. He also credited his wife for continually motivating him to follow his academic pursuits.
While he won't walk the stage at Bill Snyder Family Stadium along with his fellow 2021 grads, Marshall joked that he'll constantly check his mailbox for a certain "piece of paper" to arrive.
"I'm glad it's over, but very proud," Marshall said. "My wife graduated in four years and she has been rubbing that in my face for a long time, and now I get to put my diploma next to hers and proudly tell my son. And we just found out we're having another boy, so I can tell my sons that their dad accomplished something."