(MORGANTOWN, W.Va.) — A 94-year-old man is set to graduate college next week, more than 75 years after he started working towards his degree.
In 1939, Anthony Brutto enrolled at West Virginia University, when tuition was $50, according to a university press release.
He studied engineering, physical education and industrial arts, and was close to graduation when he was drafted during World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps for three and a half years, WVU said.
Brutto returned to school in 1946, but was forced to drop out again, this time to take care of his ill wife, according to WVU. He soon started working as a machinist in various factories.
Brutto retired in the 1980s, sculpting in his spare time. But he committed himself to returning to school, and his daughter, Lisa Bridges, who works for the university as a web developer, said she found out students can get credit for life experience.
“[I thought] it would be really great at this point in his life for him to be able to get his degree,” Bridges said.
Next week, Brutto will graduate with about 4,500 other WVU students.
“I think it’s great,” Brutto told ABC News Sunday.
His wife, Donna Brutto, agreed.
“I think it’s wonderful that he’s getting this after all these years,” she said. “He most certainly deserves it.”
April Kaull, assistant director of WVU’s University Relations/News, said Brutto’s story “reflects the determination and perseverance of many students on the WVU campus.”
“He didn’t let anything in his life or the challenges that he faced keep him from his ultimate goal,” Kaull said. “And that’s what we find is a theme among many of our students.”
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