They say it’s never too late for learning, and one man from Georgia just proved this true once again.
At 72 years old, Sam Kaplan graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College in his hometown of Lawrenceville in May. He is now the proud recipient of a bachelor’s degree in cinema and media arts.
He’s also the first of his seven siblings to finish college. His 99-year-old mom, along with other members of his family, was there to celebrate with him.
“She’s very excited,” Kaplan said in a GGC press release. “She’s excited, happy and proud.”
Kaplan graduated from high school in 1969, but didn’t go on to college. Instead, he worked a variety of jobs over the years, from telemarketing to driving a taxi.
Then, at age 68, he had a lightning-bolt moment when he heard an ad for a GGC program on the radio while driving a road near the college.
“My car seemed to have developed automatic steering and I pulled off on Collins Hill Road,” he said in the press release. “Five minutes later, I was registering for the fall semester.”
The ad’s mention of learning how to write scripts caught Kaplan’s ear. He had already written two books and had developed an interest in the subject.
“I’ve always liked to write,” Kaplan told Fox 5 Atlanta. “I love to tell stories. I thought I could turn my stories into screenplays, but I needed the foundation of what to do.”
With his interest in screenwriting and media, Kaplan’s in a great spot — Georgia’s role in the film industry is robust, with major movies and TV shows frequently in production there.
Kaplan’s challenges in going to back to school at 68 included relearning how to study and fitting in with his classmates; he graduated with a group of 650 other students, most of whom were much younger.
But judging by the cheers heard in a CNN post re-tweeted by GCC once his name was called, it worked out just fine.
“I think I have a good relationship with them,” Kaplan said in the press release. “I got a lot of hugs from them on the last day of classes.”
No word yet on what Kaplan plans to do after his graduation with summa cum laude honors. For now he’s just enjoying his achievement.
“I’m very excited, and I feel proud of myself for doing this,” he told Fox5.