78-Year-Old UConn Grad Wants to Help Veterans

Monday, May 20, 2013  |  Updated 10:07 AM EDT
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Donald Fenton is 78 years old and he went to law school at UConn after retiring with the intention of helping veterans returning after fighting overseas.

Tom Kienzler

Donald Fenton is 78 years old and he went to law school at UConn after retiring with the intention of helping veterans returning after fighting overseas.

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Among the many proud graduates of the UConn Law School class of 2013, one man stood out from the others during ceremonies over the weekend.

Donald Fenton is 78 years old and he went back to school after retiring with the intention of helping veterans returning after fighting overseas.

The Army veteran and successful business man retired 12 years ago, but decided he still had a lot more to accomplish for members of the U.S. military.   

"I hoped a legal education would better enable me to give back to society from which I have gained so much," Fenton said. "I was lucky in terms of my family, my military service, my career after the service, and so a chance to do something for somebody else is something I think we should all do."

When Fenton walked across the stage to accept his law degree, he proudly wore military medals pinned to his gown, including the Silver Star for valor. 

Fenton graduated from college in 1957 and went on to the U.S. Army, serving 10 years. Then he went on to raise a family and have a successful business career before retiring. This latest chapter in his life is one he will look back on fondly.

"Just going to law school with a bunch of young people who are very bright, very capable, is a pleasure in itself. That's a reward in itself," he said.

Now, Fenton wants to help fellow veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These kids coming back -- 19, 20, 21 years old -- they do need help coming back if they're facing difficulties. And if there's anything i can do to help them, I will," Fenton said.

His family is proud, but they also have a sense of humor.

"I got an email from one of my daughters, my youngest daughter who's an attorney, and she congratulated me but she said, ‘I can't be your intern,” Fenton said.

Fenton plans to take the bar exam in February, but will start working with veterans groups while he studies.
 

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