ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Graduation from college is a time you can dream of for years to come.
In Steve Kennedy’s case, that’s almost a lifetime.
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“This is the completion of something that I accomplished a long time ago that I just didn’t know,” he said.
Kennedy first appeared on CBS 11 in May 2020, after the 75-year-old learned he was graduating from college.
“You can call it a dream come true,” he said then.
In 1967, Kennedy had nine credit hours short of a degree when he received a commission for the United States Army.
He was sent to Vietnam.
He and his wife, Wilma, had two daughters and also chose a surrogate daughter, who married Gulf War veteran Joe Carpenter.
In his 50s, Joe decided to attend Kennedy’s alma mater, UT Arlington.
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“I’m also a late bloomer, barely 20 years younger than him,” Carpenter joked.
He asked the university to grant an honorary degree to his surrogate stepfather, who had expressed regret: not having graduated.
The college surprised them both with news that because the class credits had changed over the years, Kennedy, in fact, was now qualified for a degree.
After waiting over 50 years, however, to celebrate his achievement, COVID-19 forced him to wait yet again.
UTA has postponed the in-person graduation ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 graduates until this week. Kennedy took to the stage at Globe Life Field with Carpenter by his side.
“The point is – without him – I wouldn’t be here at all,” he said.
Both men received the same degree – a bachelor’s degree in history.
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“The degrees are already on the wall, but that part is something I never thought would happen,” Kennedy said.