A 94-year-old man is set to graduate college next week, more than 75 years after he began working on his degree.
Anthony Brutto enrolled at West Virginia University in 1939, when tuition was $50, according to a university press release. He studied engineering, physical education and industrial arts. He was close to graduation when he was drafted in the midst of World War II, where he served in the Army Air Corps for three and a half years, WVU said.
Brutto returned to school later in 1946, but was forced to drop out again when his wife became ill, according to WVU. He began working as a machinist in various factories.
Brutto retired in the 1980s, spending his spare time sculpting. Then, he committed himself to returning to school. His daughter, Lisa Bridges, who works for WVU 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 today.
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.”