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CHICAGO —  A 90-year-old great-grandfather has become oldest student to earn a bachelor’s degree at Northeastern Illinois University.

Bob Dwyer received his diploma at a ceremony Monday. He earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Dwyer was born in Chicago in 1928. Dwyer said he enlisted in the Army in 1946, just eight days after his high school graduation, and served stateside for a year and a half. By 1948, he was enrolled in Wright College, where he met his wife, Peggy. She went on to graduate, but he dropped out to start working. He said he never anticipated it would take him over half a century more to receive his degree.

The couple was married in 1956 until her death in 2010.

He chose to attend Northeastern after Peggy’s death, partly because enrolling helped him through the grieving process.

“I would encourage anybody who either dropped out of college, or maybe even didn’t start it and they would like to, and over the years for all kinds of reasons they made excuses, and they might be 30 years old, 40 years old…all I can say is it’s never going to be too late,” he said.

Dwyer plans to hang his diploma on the wall — at his retirement home — and then meditate for a while!

The Associated Press contributed to this report.