The 89-year old received his degree in Public Relations from Arkansas Tech on Saturday.
Ball dropped out of school to become a fighter pilot shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The pomp and circumstance of graduation day.
As proud parents scanned the capped crowd for their graduate, they might have noticed some silver hair peeking out from one of those caps.
That man with the contagious smile is Charlie Ball.
Charlie first attended Arkansas Tech in 1941, but December 7th and Pearl Harbor changed his plans.
"I joined the old Army Air Corps and they sent me for pilot's training down in Texas," Charlie says.
When the war ended, Charlie picked up a few classes here and there, and went to work with his father.
But as the years went on and he became a grandpa, and knew he wanted to set an example, so he worked with Tech to compile his transcripts.
"We were able to put all that together and we discovered and he discovered that it was possible to graduate," explains Dr. Robert Brown
president of Arkansas Tech.
He called his granddaughter, Madaline, to share the news
"He said 'guess what I'm doing on May 12th?' And I said what are you doing Grandpa Charlie? And he said, 'I'm graduating from college.'
"They thought it was good and I said the reason I was doing it so that it would get them all enthused, my grandchildren, to get their degrees too," says Charlie.
His family wasn't surprised by this spitfires decision, but when he sent the invitation to a former high school friend, it caused some confusion
"He said it sure is good to see your grandchildren graduate. He thought it was my grandchild. I had to call him back and tell him, no it's me."
As you can see, his personality makes him easily the most popular student on campus
Everyone knows who he is and they are all inspired by his story and that he never gave up.
"I've been in this business 44 years and I've never had such an honor as to be able to confer a degree on a gentleman like Charlie Ball," Dr. Brown said.
(Janelle Lilley, KATV for CNN)