Man in his nineties finally graduates - 75 years after starting his degree

Anthony Brutto began his studies in 1939 when his tuition fees were just $50

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The Independent Online

It takes most students three or four years to complete their degrees, but when 94-year-old Anthony Brutto graduates on Sunday it will finish an epic 75-year journey of on/off studying.

The nonagenarian will be awarded his Regents Bachelor of Arts degree at West Virginia University, where he began his studies in 1939. Tuition then cost just $50 (£31), according to a press release from the university. 

“It was always important to me to graduate,” he said, adding that he thought he would “take a break for a while,” before pursuing his master’s degree.

Brutto originally set himself a four-year goal to graduate when he began his engineering major, but after America entered the Second World War he was drafted into the Army Air Corps.

He was mostly stationed in the US where he put his engineering skills to good use, working on aircraft and learning to build and repair bombers.

At the end of the war in 1946, he re-enrolled at the university in the hope of finishing his degree, but he could not finish because he had to care for his sick wife.

He went on to work as a machinist, officially retiring in the mid-80s, although he said he never stopped working and stayed busy sculpting objects out of wood. He also made and sold jewellery to local shops in his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia.

But the desire to complete his degree never left him and he reapplied to the Regents Bachelor of Arts programme.

While it was a bit more expensive than the original $50 fee, he said it was worth every penny.

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