Rochester man graduates RIT at 81 years old

May 11, 2018 06:34 PM

Bob Fitch usually stays away from the spotlight but today he's all smiles as he prepares for a moment he never saw coming.

Fitch was surprised on his 80th birthday with a degree from RIT. 

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"I had no idea this was in the wind, anywhere in my life. It's a total surprise," said Fitch. 

Fitch was unable to finish his education there decades ago due to a family emergency pushing him into the workforce before being able to graduate.

He built a career as a as a general contractor which eventually got him back on campus. 

"I worked at RIT for 17 years on various…actually every building,"said Fitch.  

Fitch had done carpentry work on the very buildings he once walked through as a student. 

"We went to buildings I had done work in and the work was still there…and that really, really caught me," stated Fitch. 

And now he's walking through those hallways once again but this time as a graduate at the age of 81. 

 "I'm always preachin, when I worked at the school I got to know a lot of people and a lot of students  I was always saying hey look it, go one more step," stated Fitch. 

Now Fitch takes on more step himself as he puts one foot in front of the other to get his diploma.

 "Get it done while its fresh in your mind. Oh but im tired, we cant. I said forget about that, get it done," said Fitch.   

 A man who built his career off the education here is now building memories with three generations of his family cheering him on. 

Most of Fitch's family still lives here in the Rochester area.

The 81-year-old contractor still works at a marina in Florida and now has his associates degree through the school of individualized study here at RIT. 


Stephanie Robusto

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