World War 2 Veteran receives honorary degree from St. Norbert College

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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Bill Manion's kids urged him to research his background.

What he found were ties to his biological father he never expected.

"I was raised in a very comfortable environment," Bill Manion said. "I had no need to go out and find anybody."

Manion learned that he and his father walked the same campus at St. Norbert College.

"I didn't see him there, but he was there 40 years ahead of me," Manion said.

In the 40's Bill's biological father, Robert O'Malley, attended St. Norbert College, but didn't graduate because he was sent to war.

After reaching out the alumni office, Bill was able to give his father something he never received.

St. Norbert College gave Robert O'Malley an honorary degree on Saturday.

Bill's biological siblings were at the ceremony as well.

"I can't describe what it is like other than joyful and to use maybe a cliche, connecting," Bill's biological brother Michael O'Malley said.

This is the first time the college has ever done anything like this.

Bill hopes more honorary degrees can be handed out to men who couldn't finish college due to the war.

"It's a big thing," said Manion. It's not just selfish interest, It's like if we can do this, look at how we can build on it."

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