A 95-year-old man has become the oldest person to graduate from Kingston University

Dr. David Marjot graduated with a Masters in modern European philosophy in January


A 95-year-old man from Surrey has become the oldest ever person to graduate from Kingston University.

Previously trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. David Marjot decided to return to education after losing his wife of 65 years.

He graduated from the university last month with a Masters in modern European philosophy.

The graduation ceremony, held in January at The Rose theatre, was a heartwarming event attended by Dr. Marjot’s son and son-in-law. As he crossed the stage, he received a standing ovation from the auditorium, who cheered for his achievements.

After initially earning his medical qualifications as a doctor in 1952, the evolving landscape of psychiatry in the UK prompted Dr. Marjot to go back to university 72 years later, in order for him to understand how philosophy could be applied in modern day. Enrolling on the course as a means of coping with the profound loss of his wife after a 65 year long marriage, he recently has surpassed the previous record held by a 93-year-old graduate in 1994.

Reflecting on his experience, Dr. Marjot expressed gratitude towards Kingston University, noting the institution’s exceptional support and the high quality of education he received. He described the journey as an “honour” and praised the university’s staff and students for their accommodation.

He said: “I knew I was limited on time, so when I saw an advert for the course in The Times Literary Supplement for a course that was local to me, I decided to apply.

“The staff and students at Kingston University were so accommodating to me, it has been a wonderful course, and the teaching was excellent, so it’s been an honour to do this degree and be a part of such a fantastic university.”

Professor Stella Sandford, who served as Dr. Marjot’s teacher and dissertation supervisor, commended his contributions to the classroom. She highlighted the enriching discussions facilitated by his wealth of knowledge and experiences, emphasising the significance of generational diversity in academic settings.

She said: “David once told the class about his childhood experience of Empire Day 1938 and compared it to Remembrance Sunday 2022. He was able to connect all that up to what we were studying. It was an amazing and very moving contribution to the class.”

Dr. Marjot reflected on his studies and gave advice to those considering following in his footsteps and entering education after decades away. He said: “It is a bit of a gamble, but the main thing is if you’re interested then go for it.

“It was hard work, my memory is not quite what it used to be but I was lucky to have world-class teachers and it was a very positive experience. I think it is important to always keep challenging yourself even as you get older.” His advice to those contemplating a similar path is rooted in encouragement and resilience, highlighting the importance of challenging oneself, even in later stages of life.

As a 95-year-old graduate, Dr. Marjot joins the ranks of the UK’s oldest scholars, with the current record held by 96-year-old Archie White, who graduated from the University of Brighton in 2021. Undeterred by his age, Dr. Marjot is now considering embarking on a part-time doctorate, a decision that could see him completing a doctoral program at the remarkable age of 102.

Encouraging others to embrace the challenge, Dr. Marjot emphasised the importance of pursuing interests and constantly challenging oneself. His words resonate as a testament to the transformative power of education and the limitless potential for personal growth, regardless of age.

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Featured image via SWNS