ATLANTA - The May commencement ceremony at Georgia State University will be extra special this year for one graduate.
Joseph Crews Jr. was born on August 31, 1934 in Amityville, New York. He’s 81-years-old and is preparing to graduate from GSU with a degree in economics.
“It has been a long road for him but he has stayed the course” Crews’ daughter, Kim Crews, told us.
Crews attended college after high school, but enlisted in the army after a semester or two. Crews went back to school when he was in his 60’s, but a diagnosis of prostate cancer put his aspirations on hold, according to his daughter.
“After moving from Miami to Atlanta, Georgia to be with us a few years ago, he enrolled at GSU as part of their GSU62 program for seniors. Tuition free,” Kim Crews said.
Crews’ daughter said her father continued to battle prostate cancer and cancerous cells on his kidney, but didn’t let his health stop him.
“He scheduled surgeries, MRIs and doctor visits around his course schedule. Each day he gets on the bus… and then the train… and then walks across campus to his classes. Sun or rain.”
Crews has learned to use a laptop in addition to other online tools required for his classes. His daughter said he is dedicated to his work, but is able to have fun with his classmates who are much younger than him.
“He says he loves being on campus with all those young girls but they walk too fast and he can’t catch them! Whenever a teacher shares something about history, the other students look at him for confirmation!” Crews said.
Last week, Kim Crews shared new photos with FOX 5 of her father on campus.
"He is VERY excited," she said.
Mr. Crews has received his printed announcements and will soon take his cap and gown pictures, according to his daughter. He's set to graduate at a morning ceremony on May 7, 2016.
This summer, the graduate will be honored with a "Presidential Award" at the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority's national convention. The ceremony will take place in July at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Crews currently lives in Stone Mountain and when he's not studying he enjoys spending time at the local Kroger.