A 96-year-old World War II Navy veteran can say mission accomplished after graduating college Saturday.
Robert Edgar Barger first took classes at the University of Toledo 68 years ago, shortly after returning from World War II. He stopped attending and started working in order to take care of his wife and two children.
Decades passed before he met Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, the university’s director of military and veteran affairs, in 2013. They became friends and Ghanbari later learned that Barger had not completed his degree.
A review of Barger’s transcripts from the 1940s showed that he had enough classes to qualify for an associate of technical studies degree, which was not offered at the time.
"It was something I never dreamed of. I knew I couldn't go back to school now,” Barger, believed to be the oldest graduate from the University of Toledo, said. "I'm going to be proud to hang that diploma on the wall and think about the friends behind it.”
Barger, who has four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren, planned a party with about 100 people from his retirement community, to celebrate the accomplishment.
"I found out without friends, this old world wouldn't be worth living in," Barger said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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