96-Year-Old World War II Veteran Receives College Degree Decades After Leaving School

He said he is proud of the accomplishment.

A 96-year-old World War II veteran has graduated from The University of Toledo, decades after he first attended the school.

Robert Barger earned an associate of technical studies degree on May 5.

After returning from WWII and serving in the United States Navy, Barger attended the university, but dropped out so he could get a job and provide for his wife and children.

In 2013, Barger met Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

After reviewing Barger’s transcripts, Ghanbari realized the veteran met the requirements to graduate with an associate degree.

"We are proud to honor a member of the ‘Greatest Generation’ at commencement," said Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College. "It will be a memorable moment to see Bob receive the degree he earned and pay tribute to a veteran who served our country."
Barger invited 100 people from his retirement community to the commencement ceremony and had a large graduation party to celebrate his achievement.

He is believed to be the oldest UT graduate, the school announced.

Barger said that earning his degree is something he will be proud of for the rest of his life and is excited to achieve something he had set out to complete many years ago.

"I thought I would never be able to accomplish this degree," Barger said. "My grandson graduated from UT, and he no longer can say he is one up on me; I have a degree, too — just took me a while!"
Barger has four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.