Literary Las Vegas: Andrew R. Nixon

In “50 Shades of Grades: My Journey Through Wacademia,” Las Vegas author Andrew R. Nixon traces his life path beginning as a mediocre student and navigating through academia to obtain “the ultimate degree in education,” the Ph.D. Nixon was a reluctant student, hardly what he or his teachers considered university material. Yet, his father was determined to push him into college. When a classmate said she was going to Brigham Young University, Nixon devised a scheme to thwart his father’s wishes. For more information on the book, email

Excerpt from ‘50 Shades of Grades: My Journey Through Wacademia’

I began working out a plan; making my first trip to the school library and asking the librarian about this university, sending for information, poring over articles about BYU, and designing a fail-safe plan that would make my choice of this particular university so repugnant to my father that he would refuse and I would join the Marine Corps. I would blackmail my father by saying the only way I would attend college would be at this school. No way would he agree!

Finally my plan was ready. I sat down with my father one evening and presented him with my own ultimatum. I would apply to college but it would have to be the one I selected. He agreed and I moved in for the kill as I said, “Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It is 2,000 miles away and run by the Mormon Church.” Unbeknownst to me, he had learned of my sudden interest in BYU and had done some checking of his own.

He responded, “OK.”

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