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Here’s a Story About a Former Drug Dealer Who Graduated Columbia With a Philosophy Degree

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 5.24.47 PMDavid Norman is a native of Harlem who has battled heroin addiction, done a few stints in prison, and now, gotten an undergraduate degree from Columbia University at the age of 67.

Christina Gray, a communications officer at the Ive League school, said this, per CNN:

Columbia University School of General Studies is dedicated to serving nontraditional students who want to pursue a traditional Ivy League education. And David Norman is but one example of the kind of exceptional students we serve.

Norman was using heroin to overcome his shyness and feel more sociable by the age of 15, according to the Daily News, and he dropped out of high school after a single day. After being arrested over and over again and going to prison a few times, he had a revelation. While serving his final prison sentence, which was for manslaughter, he began reading and began working with other inmates to teach them life skills they could use after their release.

After his own release, he started working and volunteering in that same capacity, eventually finding his way to Columbia, where he was able to work and, as a staff member, take seven credits per semester. After ten years, he graduated last week.

He now works at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Watch a video of the moment of his graduation here:

[image via screengrab]

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