101-year-old veteran fulfills his dream of walking during college graduation ceremony

After a wait of 80 years, it proved to be worth it! Fred Taylor, a 101-year-old resident of California, was finally able to attend his college graduation.

During World War II, he was deployed to serve with the Army Air Corps Reserve, which prevented him from participating in his expected graduation ceremony at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in 1943, where he was supposed to receive his music degree.

Thanks to his daughter, Linda Taylor, Fred Taylor recently had the chance to walk among fellow graduates. Linda, a professor familiar with graduation ceremonies, presented her father with tickets to Iowa so that he could finally participate in his long-awaited graduation ceremony at Cornell College.

Fred Taylor expressed his surprise and excitement, stating, “Linda mentioned this idea a long time ago. But it was a big surprise to me that she had gone ahead and made the arrangements to do it. So, of course, I’m surprised and excited about it” as reported by Cornell College.

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On May 14, 2023, Fred Taylor confidently strides across the stage during the Cornell College commencement ceremony.

Linda Taylor shared, “You know that feeling when you give somebody you love something really special that delights them and delights you even more? Better late than never, I think!”

Fred Taylor’s journey at Cornell College profoundly influenced various aspects of his life. It was within those walls that he completed his music degree, eventually obtaining a master’s degree in music education at Drake University. For many years, he passionately served as a music teacher before eventually retiring. Additionally, it was during their senior year at Cornell College that Fred crossed paths with his future wife, Peggy Newberg, marking the beginning of their enduring love story.

“The college was extremely important to me,” he said.

Despite his father’s absence due to military service, Fred Taylor expressed that the ceremony brought a sense of completion and connection, as his father was able to personally retrieve his diploma from the school.

“It really ties the ribbon on it, makes me feel like now it’s complete,” he told ABC News affiliate KCRG .