Seventeen years earlier, Jobs's parents had made a pledge when they adopted him: He would go to college.
So they had worked hard and saved dutifully for his college fund, which was modest but adequate by the time he graduated.
But Jobs, becoming ever more willful, did not make it easy. At first he toyed with not going to college at all.
"I think I might have headed to New York if I didn't go to college," he recalled, musing on how different his world—and perhaps all of ours—might have been if he had chosen that path.
When his parents pushed him to go to college, he responded in a passive-aggressive way.
He did not consider state schools, such as Berkeley, where Woz then was, despite the fact that they were more affordable.
Nor did he look at Stanford, just up the road and likely to offer a scholarship.
"The kids who went to Stanford, they already knew what they wanted to do," he said. "They weren't really artistic. I wanted something that was more artistic and interesting."
Instead he insisted on applying only to Reed College, a private liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon, that was one of the most expensive in the nation.
He was visiting Woz at Berkeley when his father called to say an acceptance letter had arrived from Reed, and he tried to talk Steve out of going there. So did his mother.
It was far more than they could afford, they said. But their son responded with an ultimatum:
If he couldn't go to Reed, he wouldn't go anywhere. They relented, as usual.
Reed had only one thousand students, half the number at Homestead High.
It was known for its free-spirited hippie lifestyle, which combined somewhat uneasily with its rigorous academic standards and core curriculum.
Five years earlier Timothy Leary, the guru of psychedelic enlightenment, had sat cross-legged at the Reed College commons while on his League for Spiritual Discovery (LSD) college tour, during which he exhorted his listeners,
"Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within...These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out."
Many of Reed's students took all three of those injunctions seriously; the dropout rate during the 1970s was more than one-third.
When it came time for Jobs to matriculate in the fall of 1972, his parents drove him up to Portland, but in another small act of rebellion he refused to let them come on campus.
In fact he refrained from even saying good-bye or thanks.