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Cheers as 72-Year-Old Graduates From College in Georgia

A crowd at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) cheered loudly as 72-year-old Sam Kaplan received his Cinema and Media Arts Diploma in Lawrenceville on May 11.

“This is my first undergraduate degree,” said Kaplan. “I’m the first of my seven siblings to earn a degree.”

Kaplan, who graduated from high school in 1969, had not considered college, according to GGC. The father of five worked in various roles including running a cleaning service, a telemarketing company, and a part-time taxi driver.

At 68 years old, Kaplan decided to go back to school.

“I was riding down 316 and heard on the radio that Georgia Gwinnett College was offering a degree that involved script writing,” Kaplan said. “Five minutes later, I was registering for the fall semester.”

The new graduate said the best part of the day was having his 99-year-old mother in the audience.

More than 650 GGC students graduated at the college’s spring 2023 commencement.

Video from Georgia Gwinnett College shows Kaplan, along with his fellow students, graduating. Credit: Georgia Gwinnett College via Storyful

Video transcript

- Sam Kaplan, Summa Cum Laude.

[CHEERING]

[CHATTER]

- Grandpop, we love you.

- Again, we ask that you remain standing until the conclusion of the recessional.

- Let's go, [INAUDIBLE].

[CHEERING]

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- [INAUDIBLE] Graduates, you may now transfer your tassel from your left to your right, signifying [INAUDIBLE]--

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]