82-year-old vet doesn’t stop learning

Rich Libertini, an 82-year-old veteran, sits for an interview at Mohave Community College. With his pal Atlas at his side, Libertini expects to graduate with an associate’s degree next year.

Screen shot of MCC video

Rich Libertini, an 82-year-old veteran, sits for an interview at Mohave Community College. With his pal Atlas at his side, Libertini expects to graduate with an associate’s degree next year.

KINGMAN – There’s an adage that says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Rich Libertini, 82, has something to say about that.

The Marine Corps veteran is one year away from graduating Mohave Community College with an associate’s degree in general studies. He returned to school three years ago after he began thinking about his legacy.

“I don’t have a million dollars to leave my family, so I said to myself ‘what is the best thing I can do before I leave this world?” Libertini asked. “I thought, suppose I go back to school? That would be a good inspiration for the other kids, something for them to maybe shoot at.”

The grandfather of eight said it wasn’t always easy having to go to the library, bounce from place to place, and finding people who knew something about his subjects so he could pick their brains.

“But you get through it,” Libertini said. “Here I am three years later, and I’m going to graduate next year.”

One of the things that made it a little easier for the vet was that he’s been palling around with his best friend, his dog, Atlas. The pair are inseparable and easily recognized as they get around Neal Campus-Kingman.

“I come here often and everybody knows me by my first name, and I know everybody by their first name,” he said.

The staff at MCC are also responsible for getting him to reach his goal.

“The teachers, the instructors, even down to the tutors – they have all been absolutely wonderful,” Libertini said. “They really go the extra mile to help you out. I really have a nice feeling in my heart for those people.”

He is originally from New York and enjoys swing dancing and freshwater fishing.