LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The surprise of a lifetime for a Vietnam veteran and former University of Louisville student.
Larry McKillip, 74, was awarded a degree Monday, 50 years after he had to leave school to take care of his sick parents.
He was just two semesters short of getting an Associate’s Degree is Recreational Education.
"It was a hard decision because I was so close. But I felt that my responsibility was to my family and my parents,” Mckillip said.
McKillip never made it back to college, but he put his skills to good use at a VA Hospital in Ohio helping aging veterans stay active.
He retired in 2006 and has spent the past few years battling stage four esophageal cancer.
Monday’s ceremony, on the steps of Grawemayer Hall, was a complete surprise to him.
“It’s indescribable because it’s something that I’ve wanted for so long and felt like that something was missing in my life and now I feel so fortunate that you all have seen - seen fit to let me have it," Mckillip said.
McKillip was awarded his degree next to his wife of 40 years, Linda, his daughter and grandchildren.