73-year-old NDSU student set to finish degree over five decades in the making

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Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 8:46 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Tomorrow is August, which means back to school is coming fast. For one NDSU senior, school can’t come quick enough! He’s been waiting to graduate for more than five decades.

“I’m coming back. I’m gonna get a cap and gown. I’m going to walk across the stage,” says soon-to-be NDSU graduate Daryl Fellbaum. He says Fargo has always been home to him. ”I’ve lived here all my life expect moving away for 47 years,” he says.

Fellbaum started at NDSU in 1967. Towards the end of his five years at the university, he was working 60 hour weeks. Eventually, he quit school to work. Fellbaum was two classes short of a degree. Now, with the help of NDSU’s Degree Completion Program, Fellbaum is able to finish what he started. He can even take his classes from his home over 900 miles away! “I had no other place I was going to go and go to school,” says Fellbaum.

Although school has changed just a bit from the 60′s. “In the middle of winter, instead of carrying books leaning into the wind and snow, I’m in a warm house on a computer,” he says.

Along with his Bison Pride, another part has stayed constant: his wife. ”We met on campus. She was a freshman. I was a senior,” he says. They met in Spanish class. “There were 13 kids in the class, and my wife, Sue, was the only girl in the class,” says Fellbaum. ”She got the highest A, but I flunked,” he says. With hers and many other’s support, Fellbaum has figured out the online-world of college. ”People are so warm, everybody trying to make you a success. I’m sure they do that with normal students, but with me, I feel they super went out of their way to help me,” he says.

When it’s time to walk the stage....

”Besides super happy I’m probably going to act crazy and when people throw they’re hats in the air I don’t know I won’t be relieved I’m just happy I’m doing it like it’s been worth it. You’re never too old to go back to school and finish what you started,” says Fellbaum.

If you’re interested in learning more about NDSU’s Degree Completion Program, click here.