When Alfonso “Ponchie” Gonzales finishes his last credit at the University of Southern California, the 96-year-old World War II veteran will become the oldest graduate in school history.
Gonzales’ family made a surprising discovery decades later when they looked into getting his diploma to frame on the wall. “I thought all I had to do was go over there and pick up my diploma,” he told ABC 7. “But I was one unit short, they told me.” Working with school officials, Gonzales got to work finishing up his final credit, joking, “I’ll go through what they want me to. I’m only 96.” It was fun to make history, Pinchas Cohen, the dean of USC’s School of Gerontology, said. “We would do whatever it takes to reach this goal,” he told ABC 7. “He is a special student and we are all delighted to have him here”.