Education

Never Too Old To Wear A Cap And Gown

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Leo Plass, 99, graduated this month from Eastern Oregon University, the school he dropped out of during the Great Depression.

Leo Plass, 99, graduated this month from Eastern Oregon University, the school he dropped out of during the Great Depression. KTVZ hide caption

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It's never too late to go back and get a college degree, at least not for 99-year-old Leo Plass of Redmond, Ore.

Plass enrolled at Eastern Oregon Normal School in 1929 to become a teacher. He lost his savings in a bank failure, and in 1932, Plass' friend offered him a job with a logging company.

"I needed the money to live on," Plass said. He took the job and dropped out just three credits shy of a degree.

Since then, Plass has worked in construction and traveled all around the country. He still spends his time building birdhouses, picture frames and chairs for children.

Plass had long since given up on completing his degree until his niece and nephew suggested that he give it a shot. At first Plass felt that he was too old to go back, but then decided to take his final classes at Eastern Oregon University.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in education this June.

"I was the first one that went through the line of about 700," said Plass, speaking about his graduation ceremony. "It was really something out of this world."

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