"It was always important to me to graduate," said 94-year-old Anthony Brutto
Credit: Brian Persinger/West Virginia University

“It was always important to me to graduate,” said 94-year-old Anthony Brutto.

And he must be telling the truth, because only someone who truly wanted their diploma would enroll in 1939 and continue working toward graduation, off and on, for 76 years.

When Brutto first enrolled in West Virginia University, tuition cost only $50.

He subsequently spent much of his life doing various forms of factory work, but now Brutto will finally graduate on May 17 with a general education degree. According to an interview with the college, he’s probably the only one among the students whose graduation was delayed by World War II. (Brutto was stationed in Venice, Florida, where he put his machinist skills to work servicing aircraft.)

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He also put aside his studies to care for his ailing wife, and she told ABC News she’s happy he’s finally having his moment.

“I think it’s wonderful that he’s getting this after all these years,” Donna Brutto said. “He most certainly deserves it.”