81-year-old grandfather graduates college after completing final course nearly 50 years later

  • 04 Jan - 10 Jan, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Way Bandy has graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USF) nearly 50 years after he was last in school. The grandfather of eight, 81, earned his bachelor’s degree on Dec. 15, when he walked across the graduation stage to receive his diploma. His wife Nancy and youngest son Kyle were cheering for him in the audience. The ceremony came after a longtime promise to his mother, who died in 2003. “My mother, bless her heart … the thing she drilled into me as a child was, ‘The two of the most important things are your health and your word of honour. I want your word of honour that one day you’ll go back and get your degree,’” Bandy recalled. He also told in an interview that he dropped out of school to get married and start a family. But after his mother’s death, Bandy collected his college transcripts and applied to USF since he required one course to graduate. After studying hard to pass his final exam in biology, learning about the wetland environments, Bandy earned a B in the class. Bandy hopes to inspire other students, of any age and generation, to complete school if they have the opportunity to. “Take your time, stay ahead of your goal and promise yourself you’ll finish,” he advised.