Janitor Earns Columbia University Degree After 12 Years Of Study

Gac Filipaj janitor Colombia University degree
Gac Filipaj janitor Colombia University degree

He's an immigrant who became a janitor, and on Sunday, he'll also be an Ivy League graduate, with a degree in classics from Columbia University.

It's a classic American success story, but not the kind you read much in these recessionary times. Gac Filipaj, 52, came to the U.S. from war-torn Yugoslavia in 1992 barely speaking a word of English. On the advice of his first English tutor in New York, he began working as a janitor at Columbia University so that he could take advantage of the school's tuition-exemption benefit program that allows employees to enroll in classes for free. Lucky for him, because according to Collegedata.com, tuition and fees at Columbia cost $45,290.