73-Year-Old Gets His Diploma

By: Lori Jane Gliha
By: Lori Jane Gliha

73-year-old Dewitt Henry knew his graduation was real when he received a letter in the mail addressed to "The Parents of the Graduate".

Saturday afternoon, Henry received his diploma from Michigan State University along with a degree in Landscape Architecture, a major he started more than fifty years ago.

Henry left Michigan State to marry his girlfriend fifty-two years ago. He was just 12 credits shy of achieving his degree, but when he got married, he and his wife didn't have enough money for him to complete his final semester.

Henry, an Assistant Wayne County Executive, decided to go back to school after he struggled with colon cancer last year. His family said they didn't know if Henry would survive, and when he recovered, they suggested he complete some of his life's goals.

He enrolled in a few Internet and mail classes, and he scheduled regular meetings with an advisor in order to complete the degree. By the end of the semester he had written a 49-page thesis.

Henry's family members said they are proud of him and not surprised by his perseverance and ability to turn something negative into a positive experience.

Henry said he has no plans to retire anytime soon.


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