Ivy League school janitor graduates with honors
For years, Gac Filipaj mopped floors, cleaned toilets and took out trash at Columbia University.A refugee from war-torn Yugoslavia, he eked out a living working for the Ivy League school. But Sunday was payback time: The 52-year-old janitor donned a cap and gown to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in classics.
As a Columbia employee, he didn’t have to pay for the classes he took. His favorite subject was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, the janitor said during a break from his work at Lerner Hall, the student union building he cleans.
“I love Seneca’s letters because they’re written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family — not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life,” he said.
His graduation with honors capped a dozen years of studies, including readings in ancient Latin and Greek.
First of all, Columbia rocks.
Second of all, THIS IS NOT A UNIQUE STORY. In my time as first an undergraduate student, then an employee, and as a graduate student, I met many, many, many people doing the exact same thing. Even guys with PhD’s from India mopping floors (true story here) so that they could get the tuition remission benefits to pass on to their children, who, in America, could not otherwise afford to attend such a wonderful institution.
In other words, this story, at Columbia, isn’t remarkable. What’s remarkable is that this story is so uncommon elsewhere it makes the national news - and that’s something we should strive to change.
- Reblogged from newshook