“People should never use the excuse that ‘I am too old to study’ or ‘I have left my run too late’,” ~ Allan Stewart
97 year old Allan Stewart from Australia became the World’s oldest university graduate for the second time, more than 70 years after attaining his first degree. He surpassed his own Guinness World Record when he graduated with his 4th degree, a Master of Clinical Science (Complementary Medicine) from Southern Cross University in Lismore, on Friday the 4th of May 2012. Allan achieved his first Guinness World Record title 6 years earlier, at the age of 91, when he completed a law degree at the University of New England.
“I can hang up my mortar board and academic robes after this one, although I said that after my last degree and then I got bored” ~ Allan Stewart
Allan Stewart is a Sydney-born great-grandfather, and retired dentist, now living at Port Stephens. He attained his first degree in 1936, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Dentistry with Honours from the University of Sydney. He later completed a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at Northwestern University in Chicago, and practised as a dentist in London, Sydney and rural northern NSW.
“I have so much time on my hands these days and I like to keep mentally active.” ~ Allan Stewart
Allan said fitness and having a focus in life was a key to his longevity and intellectual stimulation.
“It is never too late to expand your mind, make new friends and challenge yourself to achieve something worthwhile.” ~ Allan Stewart
Allan Stewart still lives independently at the age of 97, and also acts as a carer for a friend. He thinks about each day and what he wants to achieve, and says that gives him focus and purpose. Allan said “There’s a lot of surprise but I think the fact that I’ve done what I’ve done has been an encouragement to a lot of people, particularly older people and say baby boomers to do the same”
Doctor Sonia Brownie, a Southern Cross University lecturer said she did a double take when she first saw an enrolment application with a date of birth of 1915. “When I initially saw his application for enrollment I trotted back down to the student liaison team because I saw the date of birth 1915 and I said for them to check that he indeed was a man well into his senior years,” she said. Mr Stewart studied mostly by correspondence online, and is known to be excellent at time management.
When Allan was not studying for his fourth degree, he was walking, gardening, fishing, playing golf, and assisting in the local community technology centre. Allan says it’s one of his paradigms to keep the mind and body active. “When you do graduate it’s not just sufficient to say well I’ve gone so far, I feel that you need to continue learning,” he said.
“I’m a great believer from a health point of view, as you are ageing, to make sure you have sufficient exercise of the mind and sufficient exercise of the body” ~ Allan Stewart
In the future, 97 year old Allan plans to take it very easy and relax with friends and family, including his 12 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
“You are never too old and it’s never too late to study” ~ Allan Stewart
“It’s never too late to live your dream” ~ Anton K. Kressnig