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Class of 2024: Oldest graduate hopes to inspire others

May 8, 2024

It’s never too late to pursue higher education. That’s the message Arthur Gupton wants people to understand. The 67-year-old graduated from Indiana University South Bend with a Master of Liberal Studies degree. He’s also close to completing his Master of Social Work degree.

Arthur Gupton wears his graduation cap and gown and poses in front of a red Indiana University South Bend backdrop “I started as a student in 1974 after high school. I left to join the military, but it had always been a dream of mine to finish my degree. I always intended to finish,” he said.

He didn’t want to look back at his life and regret not achieving that goal. Another big motivator was to inspire his family. Two of his sons graduated from IU and he has a grandson attending as well.

“I want to inspire them to get their masters degrees as well. We’re an IU family and I’m hoping my daughter decides to go here as well,” he said.

Gupton spent more than 30 years working as a roofer. Instead of retiring, Gupton is now looking forward to a new career at Oaklawn, where he did his internship work.

“I will be a caseworker. When I get my MSW, I will be working in the crisis center,” Gupton said.

He hopes his story of determination will help inspire the people he encounters who are homeless or struggling.

“I want to instill in people that it’s never too late. As a social worker, I see the poverty and the key to ending poverty is education. I want to help people see that,” he said.

Gupton has been doing all he can to make sure people see that hard work pays off. He said while he was working on his degree, he intentionally did all his studying at the public library so people could see him putting in the work.

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