After life gets in the way, 80-year-old finally gets degree

eugene, ore. (ap) | Harry Peltzer had originally planned on graduating from the University of Washington in 1946, but he went off to serve his country. After World War II, real life got in the way of completing his degree.

In June, the 80-year-old finally graduate as a member of the class of 2004 during a ceremony at Husky Stadium in Seattle. And it’s all thanks to his granddaughter.

Julie Noll-Klarr, 25, a business major at Northwest Community College, always assumed her grandfather had graduated. She was shocked last year when he confided he hadn’t received his diploma.

“We got to talking about his credits, and when I realized how close he’d come, I said, ‘We need to find out what you need to do to get your diploma!” she told The Register Guard in Eugene.

So Noll-Klarr e-mailed University of Washington and told them about her grandfather.

Janet Kime of the school’s undergraduate advising office responded with unexpected news: Peltzer was just one course shy of the requirements for his degree and the school was willing to waive it.

“The reason we were able to graduate him was that he’d actually completed the number of credits he needed to graduate,’ Kime said. “All he lacked was one course in his program.’

The requirement was a senior project designed to help graduates identify a suitable career field. Since Peltzer started his own business in 1965, Metal Detectors Inc., school officials determined he had satisfied the course.

In June, Noll-Klarr walked down the isle at the graduation ceremony next to her grandfather, who uses a wheelchair.

“I was so grateful to her. My rationale had always been that I didn’t really need the degree, but I was wrong, because I’m a person who likes to accomplish things,’ Peltzer said. “And this is an accomplishment.’