WWII Navy vet pursues doctorate degree he says he earned over 60 years ago

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DENVER (KDVR) — A World War II U.S. Navy veteran says the University of Denver owes him a doctorate degree that he says he earned — almost.

Bill Greene is used to disappointment. He was slated to be a Navy pilot but was told he was colorblind.

“Got totally kicked out. Couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. He then became a Navy Seabee.

“Construction battalion. Mine was electrician. I’d climb poles,” Greene said.

After the war, Bill married the love of his life, Leona, and was married 75 years, “She raised five of us: her husband and four kids,” Greene said.

Greene became a teacher and has a bachelor’s degree and two masters from the University of Denver. He also pursued a doctorate of education.

He wanted to send a message to the dean: “Here’s my doctorate, and I’m going to shove it up your coat sleeve. That was it.”

Greene said he completed his requirements for his doctorate degree in 1956, but he was told by the then dean he would never get it.

“He was bitter, he was divorced, and he hated people,” Greene said.

Greene said he has been trying to get that degree for 60 years.

“When I start something I want to complete it,” Greene said.

We contacted the University of Denver. They said Greene did not receive a doctorate from DU because he simply did not fulfill the requirements.

Greene is disappointed, but wise.

“It might be a disappointment at that moment,” Greene said, “but later then, you do things that take away the disappointment.”

One thing is for sure: We are not disappointed in him.

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