Decades-old degree issued to 99-year-old vet

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As thousands of UNM students became graduates this weekend, one has been waiting 76 years for his degree.

War veteran John Hodges, 99, finally received his master’s degree from the university seven decades after finishing the course work.

Hodges wrote his thesis for his master’s in history in 1938 but never submitted it before being drafted and serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

So without him knowing, his daughter dug up his thesis and secretly submitted it.

On Saturday, Hodges’ daughter accepted the degree on behalf of her father.

“He was over the top and was very excited and said this is really a great honor for an old man,” she said.

The university says this will be an early birthday surprise for Hodges. He turns 100 in October. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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