In the 1930s, Giuseppe Paternò set his sights on receiving a university education as a boy born in Sicily. Poverty, fighting and a family’s love had gotten in the way. Now, at 96, he ‘s achieved his target of being the oldest graduate in the process in Italy.
The eldest of seven siblings, Paternò, began to work as a child when he supported his father with his job at a Palermo brewery. When the Allied Forces landed in Sicily in July 1943, Paternò served in Trapani as a telegrapher for the Italian army.
At the age of 31, Paternò graduated from high school as a surveyor after completing the evening classes. Yet his vision of receiving a degree at university remained elusive. Paternò subsequently enrolled in the philosophy department at the University of Palermo in 2017.
The Covid-19 pandemic threatened to stall its graduation with a few exams remaining. When courses migrated to online learning sites, Paternò was compelled to come up with the new technology. Last Friday, as he graduated first in his class with top honours, Paternò ‘s dream came to life.