Rose Bowl veteran earns college degree nearly four decades later

The 2024 Rose Bowl game is just days away. For the football teams, it's a day in California the players will never forget. For former Arizona State player Ted Friedli, that's still true decades later. Friedli is reflecting on his experience in the 1987 Rose Bowl as he marks a personal milestone — he finally graduated from ASU, nearly four decades later. 

"January 1987, is the day that dreams become reality," the announcer said, as ASU beat the Michigan Wolverines at the Rose Bowl. Friedli was a freshman on that Sun Devils team on the sidelines. Still, he said, "It was just incredible memories, just wonderful memories."

This year, 37 years later, Friedli scored a big personal win. In December, he finally got his college degree. Through a program for scholarship athletes, Sun Devils For Life, Friedli was able to earn the degree he never completed. Friedli learned about the program from a Facebook post. 

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The father of three said it was a health scare, a stroke in 2017, that inspired him to go back to school online and graduate in his 50s. His 86-year-old mom attended his graduation ceremony. His degree is in sociology, and he said he wants to help people experiencing trauma.

The Rose Bowl is New Year’s Day in Pasadena. Michigan is playing yet again, this time against Alabama