By Jennifer McRae

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Thousands of University of Colorado students celebrated their commencement on Thursday. It was the first in-person commencement ceremony at CU since the pandemic.

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For one graduate, it was a trip back in time.

“Many of you have overcome immense challenges to reach this important milestone in your lives. One example is Frank Webb, who is joining us at commencement for the first time even though he graduated over 50 years ago from CU.”

In 1968, Frank Webb missed his commencement ceremony at CU after receiving a draft notice from the U.S. military. A year later he was deployed to Vietnam.

In the Army, Webb got a job as an editor of the newspaper, “…Lots of stories about the guys who were doing all this work in the heat, in the dust, and the danger.”

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It wasn’t until 1971 that Webb received his degree in political science when he returned home.

After completing his service, Webb married his wife Colleen and started a family. After retiring from working in technology, Webb decided to work as a bus driver for a large school district in Seattle.

“I felt I owed it to my mother to show up one more time. And actually take the walk at commencement,” said Webb.

He called CU to see if he could walk the stage in his cap and gown. CU agreed, and Webb finally participated in the commencement ceremony 54 years after earning his degree, something he thought his mother would appreciate.

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“I know she would say is that I am so proud of you. And mean it. Mean it very deeply,” said Webb. “It’s for her and I guess it’s for me.”

Jennifer McRae