COLLEGE
04/26/2011 12:51 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2011

Kathy Vitzthum, Iowa State Student, Graduates After 19 Years

For Iowa State student Kathy Vitzthum, not graduating college was not an option.

Vitzthum, 48, will graduate summa cum laude from Iowa State University this spring. She has been chipping away at her degree, taking one class per semester, since 1992.

The mother of two and full-time accountant's perseverance stems from a conversation with her father, who became ill with cancer shortly after she started college:

"He said to me, 'You know Kathy, you're this far, why don't you just keep going and get your degree?'" Vitzthum recalled.

She lamented to him that she could be 50 years old when she finishes. Her dad said, "You're going to be 50 anyway, so you might as well keep going."

"I didn't really want to continue. But before he passed away, he made me promise to finish," she said.

Vitzthum's daughter also attended Iowa State, graduating in 2005. Her son will graduate this year from Des Moines Area Community College. And this Friday, Vitzhum will serve as marshal at her own long-awaited commencement ceremony.

Read more about Kathy's amazing journey here.

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