Custodian Earns Degree From College He Cleaned For Nearly A Decade

Isabella Ohlmeyer
Michael Vaudreuil, a 54-year-old custodian at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, graduated with an undergraduate degree from the college this month.

In the midst of the global financial crisis in the United States in 2007, Michael Vaudreuil found himself unemployed and lost ownership of his home.

The following year, the 54-year-old was no longer employed at his longtime construction job and he filed for bankruptcy, no longer able to support his wife’s entrepreneurial job in a coffee machine business, according to the Washington Post.

Vaudreuil then sought a job with decent pay and benefits in order to survive. He came across and accepted a job position as a custodian at Worcester Polytechnic —Institute a private university in Worcester, Massachusetts.  

The college custodian then took advantage of the job benefits, which included free tuition to take undergraduate classes at the school and work as the school’s custodian in the evenings.

Michael Vaudreuil

“I started taking classes to occupy my time constructively and get my mind off all the crap we were going through. It was one day at a time really,” he said. “I felt productive … and it was paying dividends for how it was affecting me personally. A couple years into it I realized that if I kept it up I could get a degree.”

Vaudreuil majored in mechanical engineering and it took him eight years to get his undergraduate degree this month on May 14, according to KTVU.


Gary Antinarella, Vaudreuil’s job supervisor, noticed a positive difference in the custodian’s well-being as he transitioned into a college student.

“He just became a happier person,” Antinarella said. “He’s a very intelligent guy so his mind was always active. He’s a pleasant guy, but it made him a nicer person and employee.”

Following his college graduation, Vaudreuil went back to his job as a custodian at the college on May 16 in hopes of obtaining another job in the near future. 

Read More: An 11-Year-Old Just Graduated College With Three Degrees

Banner Image Credit: LuAnne Sorrell, Facebook