updated 12/18/2006 8:38:53 AM ET 2006-12-18T13:38:53

When Marvin L. “Hub” Northen left Baylor University in 1929, he was one chemistry credit shy of graduating.

This fall, the 100-year-old was finally granted his degree.

Northen, who lives in a nursing home in Shreveport, La., did not attend Saturday’s commencement at Baylor. But he was listed among the December 2006 graduates.

He had a surprise graduation ceremony at his Shreveport church on Nov. 28 when he was presented with a Baylor diploma, a cap and gown and his official transcript.

“I didn’t expect any of it. Of course, I appreciated it. It wore me out all day long,” Northen said.

Northen left Baylor because the Great Depression had hit and he needed to work to help his family.

According to Glenn Hilburn, the retired chair of Baylor’s religion department, Northen has been participating in a class that can be substituted for the Chemistry 101 class he never took.

“He’s passed this substitute class with a grade of A-plus without even knowing it,” Hilburn said. “It’s Life 101. He’s mastered that course and mastered it well.”

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