A 72-year-old man just got an undergraduate degree and flipped his tassel more than 50 years after graduating from high school.
Sam Kaplan became the first of his seven siblings to achieve a bachelor’s degree on May 11, when he graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, with a certificate in Cinema and Media Arts.
Kaplan’s 99-year-old mother was in the audience and cheered on her son as he walked the stage for his graduation ceremony.
She’s very excited, the recent graduate said of his mother. She’s pleased, thrilled, and proud.
She last saw her son in a classroom in 1969, when he graduated from high school. Kaplan had a career that spanned decades. He started a cleaning business and eventually a telemarketing firm, according to a press release from the institution. He also worked as a cab driver and as a customer service representative for an electronic wholesale distribution company.
Kaplan’s college also stated that, at the age of 68, the septuagenarian opted to return to school for the first time in decades.
He added that he was riding down 316 when he heard on the radio that Georgia Gwinnett College was offering a scriptwriting degree. His car appeared to have developed automatic steering, so he pulled over onto Collins Hill Road. He was registered for the fall semester five minutes later.
Despite his maturity, returning to a classroom environment after so many decades was not as simple as riding a bicycle. The dad of five had to relearn how to study, and in the beginning, he was nervous about fitting in with his peers—pupils 50 years his senior. Kaplan set out to accomplish a daily quota in order to make the jump. Every day, he approached a new student with the objective of learning more about their academic aspirations and future ambitions.
When one asks a student about what they want and plan on doing, and finds out what they desire to do with their lives, he thinks that’s uncommon with a lot of kids — they don’t get that with people, Kaplan said. He believes he has a strong working connection with them. On the final day of courses, he received embraces from several of them.
Kate Balsley, an associate professor of cinema at Georgia Gwinnett College, taught several of Kaplan’s students and acknowledged her pride in his academic accomplishments.
Sam was always eager to share photos and stories about his fascinating life and family. They’re so happy for him to graduate, but they’ll miss him, Balsley added.
Without a question, Kaplan has left his imprint on his institution. In a video of the event, his graduating class applauded loudly as he accepted his diploma with a pleased grin.
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