MADISON (WKOW) -- Graduating from college is a landmark for anyone, but it's especially meaningful for 67-year-old Richard Smith, who started pursuing his bachelor's degree in 1960.
After three years at UW-Madison, Smith was accepted into Columbia dental school and left Wisconsin just 27 credits shy of completing his degree.
Decades later, Smith says he felt like something was missing.
"Now I am semi-retired and had time to review what I wanted to do and I wanted to complete my degree," said Smith.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, Smith was able to take the rest of his courses online from his home near San Francisco.
"I always really believed in the traditional way of doing it where you go to a lecture and then you go to a discussion section and that's the way you learn, but there are other ways of learning," said Smith.
On Saturday, Smith was back at his old stomping grounds, this time with his wife and son.
"It feels great to be back. It brings back a lot of great memories. This was one of the central locations of assembly for the students and the faculty, and I have fond memories of that, lying out on that grass," said Smith of Bascom Hill.
Of course, a lot has changed in 50 years, including Smith's study habits.
"I think I'm a better student now than I was 50 years ago. I don't have the distractions of going to the pub or one of the parties," said Smith.
It's an educational journey, ending tomorrow with a lifetime achievement.
"I think deep down it really meant a lot to him to put that final period on the end of that sentence," said Smith's wife, Deborah.
"I think I'll have a sense of self-satisfaction, not for job opportunities or financial gain; it's just something I wanted to do," said Smith.
It's been a busy spring for the Smith family, whose son received his master's the weekend before from American University.