12-year-old graduates college in California, setting school record

A 12-year-old last week became the youngest person ever to graduate from California’s Fullerton College.

Clovis Hung, who started college when he was just 9 years old, said his decision to enroll was motivated by a sense of friendly competition. He said he heard about Fullerton alum Jack Rico, who at 13 years old set the previous record as the college’s youngest graduate, and set out to match his accomplishment. 

“I also wanted to be the youngest graduate,” Hung told Fullerton news station KABC. “I didn’t expect to beat him.”

On Saturday, Hung walked across the stage in a cap and gown alongside fellow Fullerton graduates, most of them at least a decade his senior. He was awarded five associate of arts degrees: history; social sciences; social behavior and self-development; arts and human expression; and science and mathematics. He said he plans to pursue another one next year. 

Clovis Hung.
Clovis Hung.via NBC4

Hung enrolled at Fullerton through the school’s Special Admit program, which allows students of any age to take courses for college credit. According to a press release by the school, Hung’s mom combined his college classes with a homeschooling curriculum to best meet his academic needs. 

“Clovis is super inquisitive, mature, diligent, self-disciplined and highly motivated,” Hung’s mother, Song Choi, said in the release. “He is also very curious and traditional public schools could not satisfy his curiosity, therefore, the best option was college.”

Adjusting to an in-person college experience was daunting at first, Hung said, but he found a support system in his new professors and classmates. Everyone welcomed him with open arms and was glad to have discussions with him about course material, he said.  

“When I had questions, I asked them, and if they had questions, they’d ask me,” Hung said. “They treated me like a little brother.”

Some of his professors worried about how he would relate to his older classmates, the release said, but soon found that he fit in seamlessly. 

“Clovis has been a great mixture of ‘kid’ and college student,” Fullerton biology professor Kenneth Collins said. “He is mature enough that the other students take him seriously, but enough of a kid that they look after him like a younger brother and cheer him on.”

Like many recent grads, Hung plans to spend his summer traveling. He also plays basketball five days a week, enjoys Minecraft and Roblox, and is earning badges as a Boy Scout. 

“I also just joined the Civic Air Patrol and hope to get my pilot license at age 16,” he said in the release. 



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