Crowborough woman graduates at 72

Newly graduated Diana Hills who has achieved a BA in History of Art at the age of 72
Newly graduated Diana Hills who has achieved a BA in History of Art at the age of 72

A Sussex woman has graduated from a London university at the age of 72.

Diana Hills from Crowborough, graduated from Birkbeck, University of London with a graduate certificate in History of Art.

She said: “I decided to do a History of Art degree because I like working towards something rather than just going along to talks for interest. I’ve always been interested in art history and the course was an opportunity to try my hand at academic writing and learn more about aspects of art and architecture I didn’t know much about.”

While the typical university student is thought of as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 18-year-old, retirees are increasingly choosing to return to education.

Diana believes ‘it is never too late to learn’ and thinks it is important for older people to learn new skills, saying that it is important for communicating and accessing knowledge in modern life.

She said that she sometimes found university life tough, especially during initial assessments and because some of her younger family members ‘were a bit puzzled’ when she told them she was returning to education.

At Birkbeck this year more than 1,000 students, nine per cent of their intake, were older than 51 and nearly 300, or two per cent, were over 61.

The college offers Future Focus workshops to those who want to go to university later in life, supporting them with study skills and support with technology.

“To study and get a qualification is a privilege for people of any age, and while undoubtedly you may go through a bit of a rough patch, the sense of achievement when you finish, whatever your mark or grade, is second to none.” Diana said.

To find out more about Birkbeck’s support for mature students, visit its website here