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Published August 05, 2011, 09:16 PM

A Not So Average College Graduate

About 435 students graduated from UND today. And for one man, today's commencement ceremony brought him back to a campus he hasn't visited in nearly 50 years. Thore Fossum came to the United States from Norway. He enrolled at UND in 1958. He never completed his degree, but a push from family members after his retirement brought him back to the books.

About 435 students graduated from UND today. And for one man, today's commencement ceremony brought him back to a campus he hasn't visited in nearly 50 years.

"Best part of today? The diploma!" UND Graduate Thore Fossum said.

70-year-old Thore Fossum isn't your average college graduate. Fossum enrolled at UND in 1958 after migrating from Norway. But he never finished his degree.

"I got married, wanted to go on and build houses and be outside actually, was probably the main thing," Thore said.

And nearly 50 years later, a push from his daughter brought him back to his studies.

"I convinced him to go back to school, said 'If I'm- you know, if you're encouarging me to go to school, you should do it yourself'," 22-year-old K.C. Fossum said

With his family behind him, Thore enrolled in distance learning courses. He lives in Washington but enjoyed his experience at UND so much that he wanted to continue his education through the university.

"It was a very good experience. For me, it was coming to a new country and there's no better way of getting into the culture of a place than through the school," Thore said.

Armed with a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the College of Arts and Sciences, Thore plans to continue his education.

"That is one of the things that will be very useful in translating and making contacts in Norway again," Thore said.

And today's commencement brought pride to the entire family.

"A sense of completion, is more that anything you know. And it's a definite step into the next part of my life," Thore remarked.

"It's been pretty cool going to all the graduations, and my brother should be finishing up this fall, or this winter. So it'll be all three of us graduating in one year," K.C. added.

Thore only had a few classes to complete to get his degree.

He said he was a little worried going back to school at first, but he really enjoyed it and called the whole experience "rejuvinating."

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