SPOKANE, WASH. — Gonzaga University honored one of its own graduates for his service during Friday night’s game.
It was a moment 94-year-old Gordon Van Scotter never expected.
Fans cheered and gave Scotter a standing ovation as he was center court in the Kennel, holding a GU game ball.
"I never felt like that before, I'm not a celebrity you know I'm just a broke old man,” Scotter said.
The World War II veteran makes jokes about the occasion but there is good reason for the standing ovation he received.
He enlisted in the U.S. army’s Engineering Division in 1942. He landed in Normandy Beach two years later.
He spent four years fighting in the trenches and helped liberate Auschwitz, one of Nazi Germany’s deadliest concentration camps.
It was his military service that led him to GU. He was able to attend college on the GI Bill.
"I wondered if I can go to Gonzaga. And I just walked up those stairs and I asked the first person I'd seen,” Scotter said.
Gordon graduated from GU with a civil engineering degree and ended up working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington.
Scotter said he still admires his alma mater. GU is a place where he found love and support.
"They treated me so wonderfully when I went to school here and I loved them,” Scotter said. “It's just a wonderful place.
Scotter was given the game ball to take home at Friday night's game. He said he already knows where he is placing it in his house.