JJC Celebrates Youngest Grad in College History

Twelve-year-old math whiz Benyamin “Beny” Bamburac has become the youngest graduate in Joliet Junior College (JJC) history. 

Bamburac completed his coursework from JJC in December 2022 and celebrated his accomplishment during the May 2023 commencement ceremony. He earned an associate of arts degree with high honors from JJC and is now attending Lewis University to pursue a bachelor’s in mathematics and computer science. 

Linda Blanco, JJC math professor and department chair, had the privilege of getting to know Bamburac inside and outside of the classroom. 

“He’s an extremely bright young man,” said Blanco. “I taught high school for 34 years and only two other students have come close to Benyamin’s mathematical ability in that time. As a department chair only one early-entry student was close to his ability. It really goes to show how unique his skills and abilities are.”

Bamburac was an outstanding achiever from a very early age, reading organic chemistry and calculus textbooks when the standard grade school curriculum was not challenging enough. 

“That is when we decided to home school and allow Beny the flexibility to advance through courses as he needed to,” said Djordje Bamburac, Benyamin’s father. “Beny completed all of the high school math courses in the home school program in only 10 months. In order for him to keep learning, we had to seek out a college course.”

The Bamburacs decided to look into area colleges and toured JJC. Beny took standard placement tests that allowed him to enroll in calculus I, his first college math course. 

“I really enjoyed my first class at JJC taught by Professor Tuskey. The professor was very kind and adjusted the homework to our skill level,” said Beny. “I knew I would like to take the other classes here after the first one.”

JJC President Dr. Clyne Namuo is inspired that JJC is going to be a part of Benyamin’s outstanding academic story. 

“Beny’s JJC story is a testament to the college’s ability to provide a comprehensive educational experience for any student,” said Namuo. “We are all inspired that JJC will always be a part of Beny’s academic journey. We have no doubt Beny will achieve many things and we are very glad to be a part of his story.”

Despite his academic prowess, Beny shares some of the same emotions most graduates experience at this time of the year.

“I am a little sad when I think of graduation because it is the end of something,” he said. “I like the campus a lot and meeting professors who wanted to create new challenges for me.” 

What is next for the preteen graduate?

“More math and more learning,” he said. “But after I finish my bachelor’s degree I think I would like to rest for a little while and spend time modeling physics puzzles and algorithm experiments.”


For media inquiries, please contact Media and Communications Manager, Katherine Smith at katherine.smith@jjc.edu or 815-280-2844. 

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