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World War II veteran, 100, finally gets a college degree nearly 60 years after graduating

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A 100-year-old veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War thought he was going to a celebration for his 100th birthday and to honor his contributions to the University of Maryland Global Campus, his alma mater.

Instead, Jack Milton received the surprise of a lifetime this week: his long-awaited graduation ceremony.

“I have fortunately had many ceremonies throughout my life to celebrate many occasions, but these have to be the highlights,” Milton told Fox 5 DC.

“I feel like this is the finale of a long journey in education – and again, I keep using the word appreciative, but I can’t think of another word,” he added.

Milton, 100, enrolled at the University of Maryland Global Campus in the 1960s while working at the Pentagon.

At the time the school was called University of Maryland, University College.

Then, and now, the school caters to non-traditional students, including veterans, and offers both in-person and distance learning.

Milton was a military pilot for 31 years.

He racked up more than 12,000 flight hours, according to a 2021 article from Achiever, the University of Maryland’s Global Campus magazine.

During his Air Force career, Milton received a Distinguished Flying Cross and flew combat missions in Vietnam.

Jack Milton receives his diploma
“I have fortunately had many ceremonies throughout my life to celebrate many occasions, but these have to be the highlights,” Milton told Fox 5 DC. Fox news

Milton had earned enough credits for his bachelor’s degree and planned to take the stage upon his graduation in 1966.

But before that could happen, he was deployed to Vietnam.

It always annoyed him that he never formally received his diploma, he said.

“On the way to Southeast Asia, I had a lot of thoughts about not being there to see my fellow graduates,” Milton told Fox 5 DC.

University of Maryland Global Campus President Gregory Fowler, PhD, said it was an honor to present Milton with his diploma and graduation cap – several decades after it was supposed to happen.

Jack Milton receives his diploma
Milton was a military pilot for 31 years and has accumulated more than 12,000 hours of flying time, according to a 2021 article from Achiever, the University of Maryland’s Global Campus magazine. Fox news

“I hereby confer on John L. Milton the degree of Bachelor of Arts with all the rights and privileges thereof. Congratulations,” Fowler said.

After returning from Vietnam, Milton, along with his wife, Symantha Milton, continued to be involved in the University of Maryland Global Campus community.

They especially supported programs for active military personnel and veterans enrolled at the school.

In 2010, the Miltons established the John L. and Symantha Milton Scholarship Fund, which supports another University of Maryland Global Campus scholarship fund specifically for volunteer caregivers of injured military personnel, Achiever said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the University of Maryland Global Campus for additional comment.





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