About three years ago, Milford resident Gary Crolla, a retiree from the Milford Fire Department and Vietnam veteran, decided to take advantage of veteran benefits to go back to school and signed up for classes at Gateway Community College.


His son, James Crolla, also a Milford resident, had just finished serving in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He thought he was going to have a well-deserved vacation,” said Gary Crolla, 60. “Little did he know, I signed him up for all the same classes at Gateway, too.”
Both of them graduated recently with associate degrees in liberal arts and sciences during Gateway’s 20th commencement held at Woolsey Hall at Yale University.
Gary Crolla said he plans to continue his education and hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree and teach history. James Crolla, 31, hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree in computer engineering.
“At first, being in class with me was pretty painful for him,” Gary Crolla said. “He was miserable. He hated it. But in the end, it was great for both of us. It was a wonderful journey and I’ll cherish every moment.”