Asia Minute: No Age Limit on Learning

Aug 5, 2019

Now that August has arrived, many households in Hawaii are making back-to-school plans. But in some places, graduation ceremonies are not that far in the past. In Australia, the University of Melbourne recently held a commencement ceremony with a record-setting graduate.

Lorna Prendergast just graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Masters Degree in studies relating to aging. It’s a topic she’s familiar with, because she’s 90 years old. She had a very specific focus — looking at how music can provide relief for periods of time to people who are suffering from dementia.

Lorna also had to do all of this remotely because she lives in a small country town nearly 200 miles outside Melbourne.

The retired librarian completed her entire Master’s degree program online.

She told Australia’s ABC network “one of the things that took a while to get used to, was when I had to have photographs and presentations and that type of thing — took a little bit of time.” But she added that the technology team at the university was “very kind” and helped her “quite a lot.”

She decided to go back to school after her husband of 64 years died. After what she described as a “difficult year,” she launched into the multi-year commitment to get her master’s degree.

Her instructor said Lorna is “the vanguard of people who are becoming lifelong learners who take up university study at any age.”

As for Lorna, she says she’s taking a short break right now before moving on to her next project.