89-year-old World War II veteran finally graduates

After more than seven decades, Dan McIntosh Brown graduated from college, receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics

Washington: An 89-year-old World War II veteran in the US has finally ‘graduated’ from college, receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics more than seven decades after he first attended the University of South Carolina.

After the death of his wife in May this year, Dan McIntosh Brown decided to get a degree. Pic/University of South Carolina
After the death of his wife in May this year, Dan McIntosh Brown decided to get a degree. Pic/University of South Carolina

Dan McIntosh Brown from Anderson County crossed the stage on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena to receive his degree as the 2015 summer graduation class gave him a standing ovation.

Brown, who will turn 90 later this month, is in good shape but suffers from macular degeneration and is nearly blind, so he had an escort walk him across the stage.

He had attended the University of South Carolina in 1942-43 and again in 1946-47. In between he served in the Army during World War II in Europe.

All this time, Brown thought he had failed to graduate from USC, because he thought he was three credits shy of the requirement.

Brown then worked as an Internal Revenue Service agent in several South Carolina cities and retired from the service in 1980.
It was not until Ada, his wife of 66 years, died in May this year, that he focused his thoughts again on the supposed unfinished business of his college degree.

“One day we were sitting at the table and he asked me, he said — When I write my obituary, we gotta figure something out because I have three (unfinished credits) left over.” Bell said.

If Brown had really been short of credits, he would have to have gone for an honorary degree, Caroline Bell, Brown’s senior advocate, said. But the school learned he had enough credits all along. Due to changes in the curriculum over time, school officials discovered Brown had completed enough credits “and had done extremely well,” meeting all the requirements for a bachelor's degree in economics.

Brown then decided to come to the graduation exercise to make a statement. USC is checking its records to see if Brown is the university’s oldest graduate, officials said.

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