96-year-old World War II veteran graduates from college

TOLEDO, Ohio (WSVN) — A World War II veteran is a part of history… for the second time.

Bob Barger, 96, just graduated from the University of Toledo with his associate’s degree, an achievement decades in the making. He’s believed to be the oldest graduate in the history of the school.

He had attended the University of Toledo, but left school during the war. He then became a salesman, and never went back to finish his degree.

“I never thought I would go back because I had all I wanted,” Barger said. “I was in sales and I had good customers.”

But a while back, he met Haraz Ghanbari, who asked Barger to prsent his promotion to Lieutenant in the Naval Reserves. Barger learned Ghanbari is a director of military and veterans affairs at the university, and told him he’d attended UT but never graduated.

Ghanbari took it upon himself to investigate.

“We had his transcripts pulled from the archives. They were back on the microfiche, so it took a little while to find them,” Ghanbari said. “At the time we did not have an associate’s degree, but within the last couple years, university college, which is one of the colleges over at the University of Toledo, created an associate degree in technical studies. So Bob earned enough credits way back when to qualify to graduate.”

UT student veterans chipped in to buy his cap and gown, which enabled the 96-year-old to walk across the stage to receive his diploma with Ghanbari by his side.

“Miracles don’t normally happen to old men,” Barger said. “And I guess I’ve run into one.”

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