DENVER (CBS4)– A veteran with the U.S. Navy finally received his degree more than 75 years after he enrolled in college.

Bill Harden enrolled at Colorado State University in 1942 but he dropped out 18 months later when he enlisted in the military.

Bill Harden (credit: CBS)

Bill Harden (credit: CBS)

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Harden went on to serve as a Navy Seabee during WWII.

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On Friday, Harden’s 96th birthday, was awarded an honorary degree from Western State Colorado University.

“Very, very nice. It was kind of a surprise for me,” said Harden.

Bill Harden (credit: CBS)

Bill Harden (credit: CBS)

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After the war, Harden returned to Denver where he has lived for the past 70 years.