Janitor, 52, graduating from Columbia

May 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

NEW YORK, May 11 (UPI) -- A 52-year-old custodian at Columbia University in New York said he is scheduled to graduate with honors from the school this weekend after 12 years of study.

Gac Filipaj, who moved to the United States from Yugoslavia in 1992 and still sends most of his money back to his family, said he chose to work as a custodian at Columbia because he believed it to be the best school in the city and he began taking classes part time after six years spent learning English, ABC News reported Friday.

"I am extremely pleased and happy to see the results of my efforts pay off after all of this time. I have truly enjoyed my professors, especially Professor Gareth Williams, and being in classes with young people who are extremely mature in their approach to their coursework," Filipaj said.

Filipaj said he wishes his father, who died three weeks ago, had lived long enough to see him graduate "because he thought that I'm not that smart."

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