A Grandson’s Reflection on a Very Special Commencement


“The amount of graduates that came over to congratulate and thank him speaks to how great of a community UC is,” says Joe Cordier, the grandson of a 93-year-old World War II veteran, Paul Blom. During Fall Commencement 2019, Blom received an honorary associate degree.

Blom attended UC’s Evening College for nine years in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but never earned the bachelor’s degree he was working towards due to his family’s trucking business. His daughter, Paula Baxter, always knew that he regretted falling just a few classes short of his degree, and she reached out to the UC Board of Trustees to inquire about a possible honorary degree.

old man stands with image of himself when he was younger
Paul stands at Fifth-Third Arena with a historic photo of himself before the graduation.

When officials looked into Blom’s history with the school, they uncovered that he had more than enough credentials to obtain an associate degree through UC Blue Ash, and they honored him with this at commencement.

Cordier was in charge of escorting him onto the stage to receive his degree. Cordier is currently serving in the U.S. National Guard, and his grandfather evidently means the world to him. “I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” he shares, “but it was almost overwhelming seeing him get not one, but two or three standing ovations.”

Just like the rest of UC, the crowd at commencement fell in love with Blom who served his country as part of the Greatest Generation. Having him included in the commencement made it even more of a special day for the graduates. 

About Hannah Roberts

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