(FOX11) - Dressed in a cap, gown and a smile 96-year-old Alfonso Gonzales was wheeled across the USC graduation stage Friday. Gonzales is now the the oldest person to graduate from the college.
"Alfonso has been a diligent and dedicated student and is USC's oldest graduate ever," the announcer said as Gonzales made his way across the stage.
He was one of thousands of University of Southern California graduates to receive his diploma, but he was the only one who received a standing ovation.
"I didn't think it would be that great," Gonzales said, "I thought I was going to come and get my degree and that would be it."
The World War ll veteran and Lompoc, CA native first started USC as a zoology student back in 1947. Harry Truman was President.
Gonzales says he was too busy working with his brothers to take part in his 1953 graduation.
Years later, his niece tried to pick up his diploma for him only to learn he was one credit short. So, USC created a one-credit course for him.
"My clan wanted me to come so here I am, I did it a lot for them, to inspire them," Gonzales said.
When asked what he learned, his response was to have faith in the future. In his classmates.
"I learned not to worry about the world situation because we have leaders who are going to go out there and serve the country," Gonzales said.
And what will he does a 96 year old do to celebrate?
"First thing, I'll do is take my siesta," Gonzales said.
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