EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — More than 50 years in the making, an Michigan State University earned his bachelor’s degree at a ceremony today at 75 years old.

“53 years late for graduation either says two things, I’m awfully late or I’m awfully determined. I guess I like to look at it as I’m awfully determined,” said the graduate, John Huetteman

In 1964 he started at Michigan State but decided to join the army during the Vietnam war to become a trained officer.

After 2 years of active duty, he came home and took a job in the family business as a food broker. Years went by and he developed a business relationship with former MSU president Peter McPherson who encouraged him to finish school.

“I said I never graduated from Michigan State and he said oh my heavens, good heavens how far away were you. I said 2 terms and he said oh you’ve gotta finish,” said Huetteman.
He took classes as the University of South Carolina, transferred credits to the banks of the red cedar.

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity in a wonderful way to not only be helped by Michigan State and to receive my diploma now after 53 years but to give back and pay forward to the wonderful students,” said Huetteman.

Along the way, he got help from students, teachers, and his family including his wife, an MSU alum.

“Not only the students but the professors they were all so willing to help me get it done,” he said.
To celebrate today, his family wanted to throw him a party.

“They wanted to buy me a cap and gown and have a graduation party and I said no-no-no. Let’s have a nice dinner and let’s have a milkshake for all the grandchildren,” he said.

Since Huetteman is retired, he plans to spend time on his boat and with his family. He also plans to help his former professor with teaching the class about the food broker business.

Although he did not walk across the stage today, he definitely accomplished a big goal for himself.
“It was a very distinct pleasure to be among the graduates at Michigan state,” he said.