82-year-old Weldon Bigony To Receive Baylor Diploma

May 16, 2003

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University student Weldon Bigony will be among more than 1,600 students who will receive their degrees during commencement exercises Saturday, May 17, in the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus. Bigony will be presented his bachelor's of business administration degree during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

Bigony, 82, was a standout student-athlete at Baylor from 1938-41, and was 24 hours short of earning his degree when he joined the Naval Air Corps during World War II. Sixty years later, he returned to Baylor - with his scholarship renewed - to complete those final eight classes to earn his business degree. His amazing life story and quest for his college degree have prompted stories in USA Today and People and a "Forever Young" segment May 16 on NBC's "The Today Show."

Going back to college later in life is a family trait. Bigony's mother went back to school in her 70s to earn her teaching certificate. "I told her, 'Mom, you're going to have to hurry. I think they retire teachers at about 60, and you're already 72.' But that didn't slow her down," he said in the March/April edition of Baylor Magazine.

Since retiring from a 40-year career as a pilot at age 61, Bigony has been an active volunteer, spending countless hours at nursing homes, hospitals and prisons. He also is a champion race walker and will compete in June at the National Senior Games in Virginia in the 1,500-meter and 5-kilometer races. But finishing what he started at Baylor so many years ago will be one of his greatest accomplishments. "I'm having the time of my life," he said. "I can't remember when I enjoyed anything so much."

For more information, contact Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275 (office), (254) 744-4426 (mobile) or Lori_Scott-Fogleman@baylor.edu.

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