96-Year-Old World War II Veteran Earns College Degree After 63 Years

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Alfonso Gonzales thought he graduated from the University of Southern California in 1953 after he returned as a World War II veteran. However, that wasn’t necessarily true.

Finally, after 60 years, Gonzales can proudly say he holds a degree from the University of Southern California and officially has his diploma. It turns out, he was one unit short of completing his Zoology degree in 1953. He had to miss graduation to work, so he never knew.

His family members reached out to the university recently to try and round up his diploma when officials revealed the surprise. Gonzales ended up running a soil company for 55 years and never thought to check on the degree itself.

Officials decided that Gonzales had more than earned the degree and crafted one last course for him to complete which, as Yahoo reported, was “an independent study course through the gerontology school that included reading, video assignments, visiting other classes, and writing a thesis about life.”

The University of Southern California officially awarded him the degree, making him the oldest graduate in USC History. This World War II veteran now proudly holds a diploma and can say, without a doubt, that he earned it.