Man finishes college degree after 34 years in honor of deceased son

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PROVO, Utah -- After beginning his education 34 years ago, Mark Anderson finally received his degree Thursday.

Brigham Young University held its official commencement ceremonies for the spring class of 2014. Anderson began attending in 1980, then took what he called a 28-year hiatus as life detoured his college plans.

His return to the classroom was not only for himself, but also to honor his late son, Reed.

"I felt for a long time that I needed to do this, but it's even more important for me today as I'm walking, not only for myself but also for my son, Reed," said Anderson.

Anderson said one of Reed's desires in life was to be in the medical field. Reed passed away three years ago due to the effects of a brain tumor.

Anderson also said he hopes by finishing his degree, he sets an example to his children as well as others who may have started their education but didn't finish.

"One of the things I would tell people, is that it's not as hard as a lot of people think it would be going to school after so many years and finishing up," Anderson said. "I'm really excited that I had the ability and motivation to do so."

Anderson earned his degree in American Studies and said he intents to never stop learning.

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