88-Year-Old Graduates From College, 58 Years After He Started


*I grew up hearing clich?s like “it’s never to late,” mainly from well-meaning people who were good at talking the talk even if they didn’t walk the walk.  But I’ll save all of that for my therapist…

That particular clich? — it’s never too late — I took to heart, and reenrolled in college after having dropped out a handful of years earlier when my eldest daughter was born.  There was almost a decade between my initial enrollment in college straight out of high school and my earning that BA…

Me and my eldest "little one," Janet circa 1993 at that college graduation!
Me and my eldest “little one” Janet circa 1993 at that college graduation!

…and I was pretty damned proud about all of that until I read about THIS gentleman:  Horace Sheffield finished his degree at 88-years-old, 58 years after he started!  

Sheffield enrolled at Shorter University in 1959.  In 1965, having earned 115 credits, he dropped out to raise his daughters and take care of his family.

“I had some daughters…and I couldn’t go to college and put them through [school], so I dropped out with 115 hours,” Sheffield said.

He spent decades serving and supporting his family, staying by his wife for 68 years until he lost her to Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago.

Two years ago, Sheffield decided to do something for himself:  he re-enrolled at Shorter University.

“Sixty years later I want that degree, and I’m going to get it…” he remembers saying.

Sheffield graduated last Friday.  

The college graduate thanks his tutor, Amanda Brannock, for helping him, pushing him to earn straight As, helping him submit his assignments online, and even typing up papers on her computer.  Sheffield had begun his formal education in the age of typewriters.


Sheffield also says he can’t help but think of his late wife.

“She was the better part of my life, and I will miss her,” Sheffield said. “When I get to the [graduation] party I’m going to say there are several people missing and my wife is going to be the first one that is going to be missed.”

Congratulations, Mr. Sheffield!

Now, wipe the tear out of your eye, pull that bucket list out, and get started on achieving YOUR goals!  I’m sure Mr. Sheffield agrees with me:  it’s never too late!  


This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman, who holds a BA with High Honors and Distinction in Communication from the University of Michigan.  Follow him on Twitter.



One thought on “88-Year-Old Graduates From College, 58 Years After He Started”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.