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graduation caps during commencement

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David Norman, a 67-year-old former drug dealer in Harlem, is proof that it is never too late to go after your dreams.

As the oldest member of his 2016 class, the Columbia grad received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy this May, New York Daily News reports.

David had his share of ups and downs, including a 35-year-long battle with drug abuse from the time he was 11. He dropped out of high school after one day, went to prison twice after being arrested numerous times, and now he’s the graduate of an Ivy League university.

That’s #BlackExcellence for you!

David told the Daily News that during his stay in an upstate prison, his life was changed forever.

“I was able to recognize everything I had done at that point was fairly counter-productive and I needed to engage in some new activities and some new behaviors,” he told the site.

His quest to discover what led him astray at an early age helped inform his choice of major. He got a job as an outreach worker at Mount Vernon Hospital, helping substance abusers overcome their addictions and get access to services in place to aid them.

That work led to a role at Columbia University, where he helped the program track subjects in a community health initiative.

As full-time staff, David took 7 credits per semester, finally graduating after 10 years.

“It was a great feeling,” said David, who has been sober for over two decades, “I’m just now starting to come down from my little high. I had to wash my clothes yesterday. That brought me back down.”

Stay in the glow of your accomplishments, David! You’re an inspiration to many.

SOURCE: New York Daily News

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