German man earns university diploma 40 years after first enrolling

It took Werner Kahmann almost 40 years, but he finally graduated with a university diploma a few months ago.

The German man earned his degree from Cologne University of Applied Sciences after enrolling, then dropping out and re-enrolling three more times. He originally began his studies in 1973.

Kahmann said the main reason he didn’t graduate on time was his insistence on commuting into Cologne every day, as he wanted to live in his home town to be close to the girl he was dating and various sports teams he played on, according to reports.

Needless to say, all that traveling took a toll and Werner Kahmann dropped out of school when he broke his leg and couldn’t face the commute.

He enrolled again but then dropped out in 1984 to help take care of his first child. When his daughter was older, he decided to finish his degree but gave up in 2004 when Germany introduced mandatory university fees. When fees fell in 2011, Werner Kahmann returned to school for the fourth time and, this time, managed to stay on until he graduated.

“It was nice to have finally managed to get it done,” he told German News site The Local. Relief indeed, after sitting a grand total of 68 exams over his academic career.

“If I had moved to Cologne I would have just got my studying done,” but instead the 61-year-old father decided to commute in from the nearby town of Siegburg, where his girlfriend, football club and bowling team all kept him rooted at home.

The first time Kahmann put his diploma on hold, he broke his leg playing football. The second time, it was 1984 and his daughter was born so he took time out to help raise her. “Then in 2004 when student fees were introduced, I de-matriculated again.”

His only complaint now? He’s no longer eligible for student discounts. Then again, he is 61-years-old.