(CBS) — Graduating from college is an accomplishment for anyone. But for a Northbrook man it’s been decades in the making.

Jerry Pollard, 84, graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern Illinois University on Monday with his first bachelor’s degree.

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CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports.

The Pollard family is in from all across the country when dad and grandpa makes history, well, that’s something you don’t want to miss.

Jerry graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history.

“When I retired I had no hobbies. I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll go back and get the education that I should’ve got 50 years earlier,’” he says.

He took one class a semester — for 16 years.

Like many graduates, Jerry will walk the stage wearing a decorated graduation cap. His will recognize his attempt to scale part of Mt. Everest recently.

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He wanted to make it to Base Camp One, at 18,000 but was forced to stop at just under 15,000.

“Listen, he’s 84. He’s going to do what he wants to do,” says his daughter, Cindy.

She says her father is an inspiration to the family and many others, even though Jerry Pollard has had a couple of “tough years.” His wife of 57 years, Jackie, died from cancer in 2014.

While Jerry could’ve used her death as a reason to slow down, he chose the opposite.

“I was thinking of enrolling in Northwestern’s Medical School,” he says.

Jerry has already enrolled in a class for the next semester.

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