Richard Gamarra’s long trip from inmate to the Ivy League ends next week with a master’s degree — in redemption.
The former Latin King gangbanger, after seven years behind bars for assault and weapon convictions, graduates May 17 from Columbia University’s renowned Mailman School of Public Health.
He never imagined swapping a prison jumpsuit for the university’s iconic blue cap and gown — but his dreams are coming true.
“When there’s a will, there’s a way,” said a beaming Gamarra as he walked around the prestigious Morningside Heights campus last week. “This is historic for me. It’s very humbling. I won’t believe it until I have that diploma in my hands.”
The 28-year-old Gamarra, after earning his master’s in public health, paused for a minute to admire the bronze “Alma Mater” sculpture outside Low Memorial Library.