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A sicilian turns out to be the oldest in the world to obtain their first bachelor’s degree. With 96 years and 10 months, Giuseppe Paternò has a degree in History and Philosophy at the University of Palermo. The rector, Fabrizio Micari , has been conferred the doctor of Philosophy and History in the aula magna of the faculty of Letters and Philosophy, where he defended his thesis, in the presence of their two children, Nunzio (70 years), and Marcella (68), and four grandchildren. “My enthusiasm has always been great –says Paternò–; this is my antidote to the years that pass. Now that I’m at the finish line, I still look forward”.
The great message of Giuseppe Paternò, say her teachers, is that there is always time to make dreams come true. The life of Giuseppe fits perfectly to the title of an old television program that taught older people to read and to write: “it is Never too late”. Started working when I was seven years old. His father, an employee at a bar in the centre of Palermo , was with him to help. Giuseppe was the eldest of seven siblings from a very poor family. Always had to roll up their sleeves to lend a hand at home. At the age of fourteen was working as buttons, then on the Railways as a telegraph, and chief of station; to get a promotion, the 31-obtained the diploma of surveyor in the night school. He remained 42 years in the State Railways until his retirement. After not wanted to get bored: “What was important to learn, to study, to reason. I started with two courses of theology”, today recalls Giuseppe.
The happiness of Giuseppe after being conferred the doctor of Philosophy and History, “cum laude”
In his life, full of sacrifices and never gave him anything. Nor in the university, where he has passed all the subjects in a brilliant manner, by obtaining a average of 29.80 (30 is the maximum). A phenomenon, as recognised by the rector of the University of Palermo, Fabrizio Micari: “yours is an incredible race, with a scattering of 30 and 30 cum laude, one of those cases that give you an immense joy. It is also a wonderful example for all. For our university, a true honor to have you among the students.” In the Italian university, students are graded according to a scale that goes from 0 to 30, being the minimum to pass the 18. Giuseppe Paternò has been awarded the final with the highest score: The maximum is 110/110, and in the case of outstanding students can be rewarding, as Giuseppe, with the distinction “cum laude”. The rector speaks with enthusiasm of the student more elder of the Italian universities: “It’s crazy the media has gained in the ratings, it deserves the maximum. A freshness of mind and a lucidity of which you should take note young people. It is an example to young people. Demonstrates that learning is good”.
rolls back also in to praise Giuseppe professor of Modern History, Rossella Cancila , who followed him to his graduation: “it Is an exceptional person, the students received him very well. For them, graduation has been the start of a journey; to Giuseppe, the finishing touch to a lifetime. But his big message is that there is always time to make dreams into reality”.
The rector with the freshly graduated
Is passionate about the Story, although the Philosophy is your favorite subject. “The History we study is also mine: the war, the bombings, the military service,” recalls Giuseppe. “Your life is a page of History, was enough to depart from his biography to do the thesis,” says professor of Modern History, Cancila. In fact, Giuseppe Paternò, who had already written a book with his story of a young man in his neighborhood of Palermo and the description of the historical characters of the city, has delved into his thesis on its origins. Has developed a kind of memories , mixing their places in the heart with an eye on historical events that he lived in architectural sites symbolic of Palermo. For example, the square of the Aragonese, where he celebrated the end of the war, arriving with his family from Trapani, walking distance about 100 km.
The thesis has been written in its machine Lettera 22, his old Olivetti, which became the “companion” of life: “Especially, because my wife left me in 2006, it is already 14 years old. I have graduated on the same day. A coincidence that makes me think…”, says Giuseppe. Their dreams have not been finished. Will continue to write in your Lettera 22 and studying new subjects. “I always look forward, I never get tired, and I tell young people to do the same. Continue studying forever, because the only thing I regret is not having done it when I was young, as I would have liked”. Inevitable that students will ask council at the University, given that they considered him one of the venerable elders. Giuseppe always had clear advice for young people: “study, study, Study”.
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