After returning from World War II Bob Barger, like many other soldiers, found a job and started going to college.
He was studying business and advertising while supporting a family and working full time for a paper company. Soon, his education took a backseat.
Now, 68 years later, Barger is getting a chance to receive a diploma, something he “never dreamed of.”
As he began to build a friendship with Hara Ghanbari, the director of military and veteran affairs at the University of Toledo, they talked about Barger’s past education credits.
The two met when Ghanbari asked Barger to officiate his promotion to lieutenant five years ago.
After learning that Barger had never graduated despite being enrolled full time from 1947 until 1950, Ghanbari asked the university to look at his school records.
After going into the school archives and locating the files, the school determined that Barger had around 20 more credits than an Associate’s degree requires.
The University of Toledo is honored to be able to give this military hero the degree that he earned.
Barbara Kopp Miller, a dean at the university, said, “It’s the right thing to do. He deserved. He earned it. It’s so cool to honor a member of our greatest generation.”
When he was told that he was finally going to be able to graduate, Barger laughed, “I can’t believe this. I’m 96 years old!”
His friends at the assisted living center where he currently lives are planning a huge graduation celebration for Barger. Around 100 people are expected to come.
After trying on his cap and gown, the 96-year-old veteran joked, “I fit. I guess I look pretty good in it.” He is set to graduate the first weekend of May.
“I’m going to be proud to hang that diploma on the wall and think about the friends behind it,” Barger said.
“I found out without friends, this old world wouldn’t be worth living in.”
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