76-year-old Vietnam vet fulfills dream, graduates from Texas college

National News

Among thousands of UT Arlington students celebrating graduation this week is a 76-year-old Vietnam veteran.

Steve Kennedy has waited a long time for his degree – and for decades thought it was just too late. But here’s Andrea Lucia in Texas with his story of how it is truly never too late to achieve your dreams.

College graduation is a moment you can spend years dreaming of…or in the case of Kennedy…nearly a lifetime.

“This is the completion of something I accomplished a long time ago and just didn’t know it.”

We met Kennedy in May of last year when we first learned the then 75-year-old was receiving a college degree.

“You can call it a dream come true.”

Back in 1967, he was nine credit hours short of a diploma when he received a commission to the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam.

“Life just kept getting in the way.”

He and his wife had two daughters and picked up a surrogate daughter, too, who married Joe Carpenter. In his 50’s, Joe decided to go to college Steve once had…UT Arlington.

“I’m also a late bloomer.”

Joe asked the university to grant an honorary degree to his surrogate father-in-law, who expressed one regret…not graduating.

But the university surprised him with news that because class credits had changed over the year, Steve had in fact earned a degree.

“And I choked.”
“Yeah, you did.”

After waiting more than 50 years to attend graduation, COVID forced steve to wait one more.

Do you consider yourself a patient person?
“No.”
No?
“No.”

Monday, wearing his military wings, Steve finally celebrated the honor he earned so long ago…with Joe at his side.

“The fact of the matter is, if not for him, I wouldn’t be here at all.”

Both men now have the same degree…a bachelor’s in history.

“The diplomas on the wall already, but this part is something I never thought would happen.”

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