Ivy League school janitor graduates with honors Highlights: "I love Seneca's letters because they're written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life," he said. "This is a man with great pride, whether he's doing custodial work or academics," said Peter Awn, dean of Columbia's School of General Studies and professor of Islamic studies. "He is immensely humble and grateful, but he's one individual who makes his own future." During an interview with The Associated Press in a Lerner Hall conference room, Filipaj didn't show the slightest regret or bitterness about his tough life. Instead, he cheerfully described encounters with surprised younger students who wonder why their classmate is cleaning up after them. He's not interested in furthering his studies to make more money. "The richness is in me, in my heart and in my head, not in my pockets," said Filipaj, who is now an American citizen.