Alfonso Gonzales, a 96-year-old WWII vet, thought he had finished his degree.
It turns out that he was one credit short, though. And now he’s 96. He learned this after his family contacted USC to get a copy of his diploma and were told he never actually completed it.
But Gonzalez is a very determined man, and he wanted to finish it. So that’s what he did. He graduated on May 13, the oldest USC graduate ever.
As it turns out, USC doesn’t actually offer the zoology degree he was working on anymore, and there was no one-credit class available for him to take to finish his credit requirement. So USC invented one just for him, according to a recent article on USC’s website.
Professor Aaron Hagedorn created an independent study course about autobiographies for Gonzalez, which would fulfill the requirement. Each week, Gonzalez would meet with the instructor and be given video and reading assignments. The autobiography class allowed Gonzalez to apply his own life experiences to the subject matter.
Gonzalez originally began studying at the University in 1947. He was the first person is his family to go to college. After high school, he joined the Navy and transferred into the Marine Corps. It was in the military that Gonzalez learned about field medicine.
He was the first person is his family to go to college.
His interest in medicine continued when he enrolled at USC to study zoology. However, Gonzalez’s goals took a turn, and he went to work for for a soil business. But now he has returned to finally get that zoology degree.
USC registrar Frank Chang was impressed by Mr. Gonzalez and set the wheels in motion for the course to be created.
“I called Mr. Gonzales at home to ask if he felt up to the challenge. His determination was so impressive that I knew that given the chance, Mr. Gonzales would meet all requirements,” said Chang, according to USC .
His determination was so impressive
After all these years, Mr. Gonzalez has certainly seen and learned a lot. His advice? Don’t smoke.