June 16, 2011

USA: Oregon man, 99, gets college degree

PORTLAND, Oregon / Reuters / June 16, 2011

A 99-year-old Oregon man who dropped out of college during the Great Depression has earned his college degree. AP Photo

"It only took me 80 years to get it done," Leo Plass joked in an interview with Reuters.

Plass dropped out of college in 1932 to take a logging job during the Great Depression.

At the urging of his nephew, Eastern Oregon University, formerly known as Eastern Oregon Normal School, looked over Plass' transcript and realized that under updated requirements Plass qualified for an associates degree in general studies.

Plass clearly enjoyed the pomp and fuss. "Man, it was something else," he said of the June 11 graduation and the standing ovation he received.

The La Grand, Oregon campus has grown since Plass attended in the 1930s.

"They took me all over campus in a golf cart. Man, it sure has changed," he said.

The Redmond, Ore. resident, who turns 100 on August 3, says he has no plans for another career with his new degree. He doesn't regret ditching school for logging and a series of other jobs. "I got twice as much money. I was real glad I did it. It worked out good for me."

(Reporting by Teresa Carson, editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)