Cosmo Uttero, the 97-year-old former Wellesley resident who left high school at the age of 17 to enlist in the U.S. Army during World War II, received his well-earned Wellesley High School diploma during Friday’s graduation ceremony. He viewed a livestream of the event from his home in Bradenton, Fla., with friends and family.
As we reported last month, the decorated veteran’s accomplishments included landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day.
According to an announcement issued by the town of Wellesley, Mr. Uttero described getting his diploma so many years after leaving school as a lifetime highlight. “I think I’ve pretty much done it all. I went back to Normandy in 2014, and now this. I guess you could say it’s the final nail in my coffin.” Though to be clear, he also said he’s looking forward to his 100th birthday in a few years…
In remarks to the Class of 2021, Wellesley Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David Lussier urged graduates to use Mr. Uttero’s life story as inspiration for their own futures. “Regardless of where that path takes you, I hope you too will consider ways to serve your community and our country. Regardless of the form that takes, what matters most is that, like that 17-year old from Wellesley more than 70 years ago, you too choose not to be a bystander.”
A Department of Veterans Affairs program allows schools to award diplomas to qualified veterans.