At Age 96, WWII Veteran Finally Graduates College
World War II veteran Bob Barger just accomplished a life goal at the age of 96 — he got his college degree. The milestone achievement comes nearly seven decades after he first started taking college courses at the University of Toledo. That makes him the oldest person to graduate from the university, as far as the school’s administrators can gather.
For the graduation ceremony, the university’s Student Veterans of America chapter bought him his cap and gown, and the assisted living facility where he lives threw him a large graduation party.
“It was something I never dreamed of,” Barger told Fox News. “I knew I couldn’t go back to school now.”
Bob Barger added, “I’m going to be proud to hang that diploma on the wall and think about the friends behind it. I found out without friends, this old world wouldn’t be worth living in.”
Barger was a pilot in the U.S. Navy during World War II, flying seaplanes for scout observation as well as a being a flight instructor. Originally planning on making a career in the Navy, an explosion in a barrack caused him to change his mind.
After World War II, he came home to Toledo, Ohio to work and raise a family. He attended the University of Toledo — which as Toledo University at the time — studying business and advertising. He took a full load of classes for three straight years, from 1947 to 1950, before dropping out to focus on his work and family.
In all, Barger completed 83 credit hours at the university, which is more than enough to earn an Associate’s Degree. However, the university didn’t offer that at the time.
Haraz Ghanbari, the director of military and veteran affairs at University of Toledo, met the World War II veteran a few years ago and the two struck up a friendship. When Ghanbari learned that Barger had attended the university for three years but didn’t have a degree, he got to work fixing that.
Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College at Toledo, said, “We actually had to go into the archives to find his transcripts.”
Bob Barger graduated and got his college diploma from the University of Toledo in mid-May, with a standing ovation as he was given the diploma during the university’s graduation ceremony.
Watch this veteran’s amazing graduation in the video below!