U.S. Man Who Quit College in 1932 Graduates at 99

job interview BEND, Ore. -- A man who dropped out of college just short of graduation in 1932 has earned his degree at age 99.

KTVZ-TV in Bend reports that Leo Plass, of Redmond, received his diploma a few days ago from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Plass says that he was less than one semester away from graduating from what was then called Eastern Oregon Normal School and starting a career as a teacher.

But Plass says it was the Great Depression, and a teaching salary of $80 a month wouldn't cut it.

Plass spoke with AOL Jobs about his experience

Why are you graduating now?

During the Depression, I was getting ready to go back for my last semester. Friends of mine offered me $150 a month to go into logging. In the Depression that was a lot of money. When our bank closed that became the problem. But I worked three different jobs and I got through it. And so I just kept working.

What did you do for work?

I worked in logging, insurance and small loans. I worked in contracting, commercial credit. I've built houses. Remodeled them, sold them. For about 25 years, I worked for a contractor in Yuma, Ariz. After my wife died, I retired, but I never really retired. I just kept working. Now I do woodworking.

Why did you go back to school?

I didn't really. I had wanted to go up to that area for a while. I wanted to visit my relatives who are buried around there. So when this opportunity came up after my nephews set this up, I decided to go up there and kill two birds with one stone. I didn't have to take any more classes. I am almost 100 years old, and I didn't even know how little I had left to finish. I would have just done it then.

How was your first undergrad experience?

I did geometry, history, typing, literature, all the regular stuff. Now I can't type because of my arthritis. But it was all very useful. It was a very practical education. They did everything for me. And when I came back this time, they took me around on a golf cart. It was grand.

How would you compare it to school now? And what do you think of today's students?

The schools now don't teach the basics. Students today really don't know how to do anything -- how to cook, how to sew, how to woodwork. It's all just computers. Youngsters today don't know how to repair anything. You just have to learn it on your own now.

Was it a challenge throughout your career not having a degree?

No. It didn't bother me a bit. But they told me I could come back for a master's degree.

Next:Companies Hiring This Week

Stories from AARP

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Read Full Story