On Sunday, May 14th, Fred Taylor of La Mesa, California, walked the graduation stage at Cornell College in Iowa, 80 years after missing his graduation because he was called up for duty in World War II. "My only regret is missing my graduation ceremony," said the vet, who left at the end of his senior year in college to serve in the Army Air Corp Reserve following Pearl Harbor.
Cornell College President Jonathan Brand described the ceremony as "heartwarming" and "emotional." Taylor’s daughter, Linda Taylor, a professor emeritus at the University of Miami, first contacted Cornell College to see if it was possible for her father to walk across the stage and finish what he started. Brand was onboard with the idea, saying it was important to honor a man who "left college so that he could help literally save the world from the greatest threat."
The 101-year-old received a standing ovation as he was introduced and walked onto the stage. He then led the graduating class in moving their tassels from right to left. Despite his vast life experience, the vet says he doesn’t have much in the way of advice to offer his fellow graduates. He simply wishes them well in their future endeavors.