NAPLES, Fla. — Bob Blum will make history this Friday when he becomes the oldest graduate in Keiser University history.
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Blum will join approximately 70 other graduates in a commencement ceremony hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Naples resort on Wednesday evening.
While Blum attended college at the University of Maryland in 1946, he never earned his degree. Instead, he joined the U.S. Air National Guard and was later activated to the U.S. Air Force where he served for five years. Blum was honorably discharged in 1953.
Blum has enjoyed many accomplishments in his life, both professionally and personally. In the 1950s he was a successful salesman in the Washington, D.C. area selling Valley Forge Beer for a distribution company owned by his mother. He later co-founded a construction company, Blum and Cowen Construction, which built housing developments in Montgomery County, Maryland. He even spent time as a guest columnist for the Naples Daily News and the now-defunct Islander Newspaper in Naples, Fla.
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However, Blum says the one achievement that always eluded him was earning his college degree.
“I spent 70 years applying for jobs and the only thing I could list in the ‘Education’ section of those applications was high school diploma,” said Blum. “I always felt something was missing from my life without it.”
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Blum credits his wife, Connie, and daughter, Randy Kashi, for helping him learn the technologies required of modern college students.
Connie Blum, who formerly owned a clothing store on Marco Island, now teaches computer technology to senior citizens and assisted Blum in learning the multiple computer and technology systems utilized by Keiser University.
Blum’s time in the U.S. Air Force taught him about the importance of service to others and he continues to exhibit that giving spirit today. Blum manages the investment portfolio for Fishburne Military School, where he earned his high school diploma, following his many years of managing his own businesses.
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He also advises students at Fishburne on their own investments, with hopes of teaching them the importance of sound budget planning.
Blum is receiving his Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies at the commencement ceremony and has been selected by his peers to give a speech at the ceremony.
An earlier version of this article stated that Blum was 93. He is 94. It also stated Blum joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He joined the U.S. Air National Guard.
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