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87-Year-Old WWII Veteran Will Be FIU's Oldest Graduate

At 87 years old, Richard Smith will become the oldest graduate in Florida International University's history. This Saturday, he'll receive his doctorate in history, which makes sense, considering that he has actually lived it. The veteran served in World War II as part of the Air Corps and received a Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service.


To put it in perspective, FlU wasn't even founded until Smith was 41 years old. By that time, he had left the Air Corps and completed his bachelor's degree. He then went on to run a successful clothing company and raised three children with his wife.

Yet instead of retiring, Smith chose to pursue a PhD, and recently finished his dissertation on John Sherman, the lesser-known brother of Civil War Gen. William Sherman.

"Completing this PhD is one of my proudest moments," Smith said in a release. "Anyone out there who thinks it is too late to go back to school, I'm here to tell them it's not, and it's worth it."

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