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99-year-old man finally getting diploma

June 15, 2011 at 8:58 PM   |   Comments

REDMOND, Ore., June 15 (UPI) -- An Oregon man is getting his college degree from Eastern Oregon University just shy of turning 100 years old, officials say.

Leo Plass of Redmond dropped out of school, then called Eastern Oregon Normal School in La Grande, Ore., in 1932 at the age of 20, KTVZ-TV of Bend, Ore., reported. He was a semester shy of graduating with a degree in teaching.

Back then, the average teaching salary of $80 a month was not enough to support him, so when a friend offered him a job for a logging company, he had a decision to make.

"He offered me $150, and it was the Great Depression," Plass said Tuesday. "That was a lot of money -- a lot of money."

Plass, who turns 100 in August, was later alerted to the fact that he was just 3 credit hours shy of graduating, to which he replied "Gee, too bad you didn't tell me that then -- I would have stayed there all night to just get those 3 hours in."

A nephew, Greg Plass, took the initiative to contact Eastern and see if his uncle's life experiences might be enough to put him over the top.

"I thought maybe they'd look at his employment history and give him credit for his experiences so he could get his degree," Gregg Plass told The (La Grande) Observer.

So on Saturday, his uncle will be at Eastern Oregon University to pick up his diploma.

"Never dreamed of something like this happening to me," Plass said. "It's out of this world."

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