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90-year-old WWII veteran earns his college degree after 70 years

Anyone who thinks they don’t have time to pursue a college education should ask Walter Bunker, 90, for his take on the subject. After 70 years, he accomplished a lifelong dream of earning his college degree. Today, he earned his Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Xavier University. He is a WWII veteran who had placed his college education on hold many years ago. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the inspiring story today.

Veterans Walter Bunker (l) and Ryan Hoefer (r) earned their undergraduate degrees at Xavier University today.
Xavier University Facebook page

Before WWII, Bunker attended college by playing the violin on a music scholarship. After leaving the military, he tried to finish his degree. Eventually, he took another leave from school to work with a relative. Bunker told the Enquirer he felt embarrassed about not having a degree. He decided to join his kids by becoming the next Bunker to complete his education.

He then contacted Xavier to enroll in classes to earn the Bachelor’s degree that had eluded him for so many decades. Bunker soon learned he only needed two more credits. His previous work experience includes real estate, teaching and writing. Bunker said he wanted to thank his wife for supporting him. Bunker will soon release a book titled “Change Happens.”

Today was Xavier’s 176th commencement ceremony. The function conferred 747 undergraduate degrees and 376 graduate degrees. Xavier’s website mentioned Walter Bunker as a WWII veteran who had returned to finish his degree. Ryan Hoefer, an Iraq War veteran, escorted Bunker. Hoefer also earned his undergraduate degree.

Xavier University is a Jesuit Catholic university located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The school was founded in 1831 and is the sixth oldest Catholic university in America. According to Xavier’s website, the Princeton Review ranked Xavier as one of the best 377 colleges. Also, Xavier is also ranked first for having the best graduation rate among Midwest master’s-level colleges and universities.

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