(Video courtesy LSU)
An 83-year-old Vietnam Veteran is set to receive his Ph.D. from LSU during ceremonies on Friday.
LSU says that Johnnie Jones will receive his diploma during the LSU College of Agriculture ceremony on Friday, December 14.
Born in Mississippi, Jones joined the Marine Corps at the age of 18 and began his education with LSU while deployed in Vietnam, according to a release.
Jones tells the university that it was through their correspondence course that he was able to stay connected and continue his studies while serving. After leaving Vietnam, Jones went on to receive a bachelor’s of sociology from the University of Hawaii and then a Master’s of social work from LSU in 1975.
Nine hours short of completing his Ph.D. in human ecology, Jones says he got a job offer with the Department of Corrections. Jones says he took the job to help support his family but was unable to finish his Ph. D requirements. He retired from the department after 25 years.
Having missed the seven-year mark to pick up where he left off in his studies, Jones says that he started from scratch. Health concerns, unfortunately, caused him to drop out, ending his second attempt at a Ph.D.
Jones tells LSU that on his third try a professor with the university helped him to get an extension and begin right where he left off. Jones was able to complete his dissertation and will now receive his Ph.D.
His age, according to Jones, has never been a factor in his education.
“It was really comical, most of my classmates are young enough to be my grandchildren and they found it amazing at my age that I would be sitting in a classroom. They thought I was nuts. They didn’t quite understand what motivated me. They’re all preparing for occupations, but my occupation was over. I had retired. I was just there for self-edification,” said Jones. “I told them the reason why I was doing that, is because to me age is something that we have been socialized to believe that it is one of the most important things in our life. At 15, you’re supposed to be doing this, at 25 you’re supposed to be doing this, at 65…that’s arbitrary. I think you should not cease pursuing whatever it is you’re interested in because of age. Your only limitation that you should have is mental or physical, other than that you should keep on pushing.”
Jones says that he will continue to pursue his education by preparing for law school.
“I’m going to be a student as long as I have the mental and physical capability. When I expire, if you will, I’m sure I will be a student,” Jones tells LSU.
To read Jones’ full interview with LSU, click here.