Sunday, May 16, 2010
In July, 2007, the title as the oldest Master's degree recipient was Phyllis Turner, a 94-year-old great-great-grandmother from Adelaide, Australia, before the honour goes to Nola Ochs, 98, of Kansas, USA in May 2010.
Believe it or not, before graduating, Phyllis left school at the age of 12 before realising that she needed a Master Degree, no matter what it takes!!!
University of Adelaide awarded Phyliss her master's degree in Medical Science on 30th July, 2007, at a ceremony in her hometown of Adelaide, surrounded by generations of offspring.
Turner's supervisor Professor Maciej Henneberg said he had urged Turner to continue her studies to earn a doctorate, but she had so far declined his offer of help.
"People survive to 101 but rarely with a mind so young," Henneberg said.
"Her intellect is capable of completing a Ph.D., but her health is less certain; she is reluctant," he said, adding that a doctorate would take more than three years.
Turner quit school at age 12 to help her mother look after her siblings after they were abandoned by their father.
After raising her own 7 children and 2 stepchildren, she completed her school education at nights because "I love study," she said.
At 70, she enrolled at the University of Adelaide and at 72, won a 12-month scholarship to study at the University of California.
After California, she enrolled at the Australian National University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. She said she decided to pursue her masters degree when her husband died 5 years ago.
Turner said she felt she could achieve a Ph.D. but her family wanted her to take life easy.
"The only trouble is, I'm short of years," she said.
However on May 2010, Nola Ochs of Kansas, USA beat Phyliss Turner as the oldest Master degree graduate.
Ochs, 98 years old, graduated from Fort Hays State University with a master's degree in Liberal Studies.
Mr Edgar Dowse
Meanwhile, according to the current record, the oldest person awarded a Ph.D, is Edgar Dowse, who graduated from The London School of Theology at the age of 93 years and 268 days in June 2004.
Mr Dowse is a former vicar and his thesis was aptly titled "the soul in relationship to God"...!!!!
Mr Dowse, who already has 6 degrees in Biblical studies and theology from other British universities, took 4 years to complete his PhD, which he decided to start after a personal tragedy.
"After my wife, Ivy, died, in 1999, I felt the need for intense study," he said.
"As I'm 93, it was a slightly unusual occurrence. I'm delighted that they came to this decision."
The university professors of the London School of Theology said "Commitment, hard work and talent transcend age, but when you get examples like this you really do believe it,".
"His achievement is an encouragement to everyone to see that learning is really for life and should be valued for its own contribution to a richer life, rather than simply as a means to an end."
Reverend Dr Derek Tidball, principal of the London School of Theology, described Mr Dowse's achievement as an unsurpassed example of life-long learning. "To gain a PhD at any age is a great achievement. To gain it at the age of 93 is remarkable," he said.
Well, this means that if Ms Phyliss Turner did chose to continue with her studies up to Ph.D, she could eventually hold another record as the oldest Ph.D graduate, overtaking good old Mr Dowse!!!!
Meanwhile the oldest degree graduate is Mozelle Richardson, who won a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism aged 90 years 103 days, from the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass.
The title and the honour as the oldest college diploma recipient goes to Hazel Soares, 94 of Richmond, California who on 15 May 2010, graduated at Mills College, USA.
Born in 1915, Soares, who has 6 children and 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, has been married twice and worked as a nurse and event organizer before she retired and decided to return to pursue her dream of obtaining a college education.
Hmmmmmm... How about us who have no degree, no diploma, no master and no Ph.D??
We can do it if we have grit and determination. Study hard or Mama will shoot you!!!