NAPLES, Fla. — One of Southwest Florida’s oldest graduates will walk across the stage Friday afternoon.
94-year-old Bob Blum, a Naples resident, will be Keiser University’s oldest graduate to receive a bachelor’s degree. As you can imagine, the journey to graduation has been all but easy for Blum.
“I kid everybody," he says. "And I say I’ll probably get a job before anybody else graduating because I’m going to claim age discrimination," he adds with a laugh.
If you can’t tell, Blum has a pretty positive outlook on life.
“Age, with me, is nothing," says Blum. "I never think about dying. I’ve always felt young. As long as I look at myself in the mirror, I feel young.”
For a man that has seen so much history, quite a bit of that history lives on the walls in his home that tell stories of their own.
“Like many of us, I was immature I’ll use the word. Far more than that but we’ll just leave it at immature and I ended up in the service and all that. Afterwards, I started to grow up a little bit.”
As Bob grew up he held several jobs. But despite having a home, a family and a stable job there was something missing in his life.
“One day I said ‘I want to get my college diploma now I’m grown up.’ You know, I’m not a kid anymore. And I said I really want to do this. But I was reticent. And my wife said go for it and I said what can happen?”
What has happened is Bob will be graduating with a bachelor’s of science in interdisciplinary studies.
“Which sounds very romantic, but it’s a very detailed expanded business course. There’s a lot of law in there. A lot of government, courts, and so forth and I just took to it like anything.”
He will also be graduating with a 3.43 grade-point average. A sharp mind that works every day as he keeps up-to-date with his investments.
“Would you believe that’s the most important thing in your life!" he says. "More important than marriage. It’s every single day in your life, you have to worry about finances. And if you don’t, you’re going to be unhappy.”
Part of Bob’s graduation will be delivering a speech to his fellow graduates. And he’s got something pretty special to say to them.
“Everyone has problems," says Blum. "I don’t care who you are. Everyone’s got them- it’s one thing or another. And I want to emphasize that to them and to keep a positive attitude through all of it. You have to. I mean you don’t have a choice. Unless you want to be really unhappy.”