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At 72 Years Old, This New College Grad Is Dreaming Big

January 28, 2014
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At 72 Years Old, This New College Grad Is Dreaming Big
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Van McKellar always felt like something was missing from his life: a higher education.

In 1956, Van McKellar dropped out of school to become a mechanic. He was able to take care of his family with his wages, but always felt like something was missing. “It always bothered me that I hadn’t finished college,” he told HuffPost Live. “I felt that something was lacking in my life.” Nearly 50 years after putting his education aside, McKellar finally decided to go for his college degree. His daughter was able to reteach him some long-forgotten math skills and before long, the retiree was accepted to Metropolitan State College of Denver. McKellar said he was able to attend the school on scholarships and hadn’t taken out a single loan. He graduated in 2012 at age 72 with a degree in African American studies and a minor in history. Despite the 50-year gap between him and the other students, never once did McKellar let his age be a factor. “During the five years that I was in college, I began to feel like I was one of them,” he said. “Of course, my arthritis and other things that come to you when you’re 70 let me know that I was not. But I felt like a college student.” Next up for the determined septuagenarian: He wants to become a mentor and help people with substance abuse. Now that’s putting an education to good use.

MORE: He Dropped Out of High School 30 Years Ago, But This Innovative Education Center Helped Him Earn a Diploma

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