An 83-year-old retired military officer, Johnnie W. Jones has achieved an exceptional feat after earning PhD degree in Sociology from the Louisiana State University (LSU), making him the oldest Black person to ever receive an LSU degree.
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Johnnie Jones joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18. He had to drop out of school in sixth grade to support his family during World War II and later in 1973 after retiring from the military, he enrolled at a university for night classes to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
Johnnie Jones earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Hawaii. After completing his Bachelor’s degree, he proceeded to Louisiana State University (LSU) to earn his Master’s degree in Social Work and began to pursue his PhD in Human Ecology.
Johnnie Jones suffered several challenges while pursuing his lifetime dream of earning a PhD degree. At the old age of 83, he was set back by a serious medical condition that made him lose some years of study.
However, upon recovery, he set to earn his PhD degree in Human Ecology and is not stopping there as he now looks forward to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Law.
“Age is an artificial constraint. There’s nothing magical about 65, 75, 95, 105. Your behavior, your activities should be guided by your physical fitness and your mental fitness,” he told The Advocate.
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“We’ve been so socialized to believe that once you hit a certain age, I’ve done my thing, so I’m going to sit back and enjoy life. OK, if that’s your thing, that’s your thing. But to me, age doesn’t mean that much. It’s whether or not I have the ability to be doing the things I need to be doing,” he added.
According to reports from Lousiana State University, Dr Jones has already begun the admissions process for LSU Law School at 83.
“Johnnie is a testament to not allowing difficult circumstances in one’s life to keep one from pressing forward or altering one’s worldview, when new information challenges that previously-held view,” Dr Cassandra Chaney of LSU said this about him.
“Unfortunately, many people allow themselves to drift into a life of complacency and stagnation. They become comfortable, and while they may not realize it, over time, this comfort becomes a crutch that keeps individuals from reaching their greatest potential.”
“r. Jones approaches each day with a sense of wonder, challenges himself, and makes the conscious and deliberate effort to attain his goals. Dr. Jones’s resilience is a testament to who he is as a person and he is a sterling example of the strength that an LSU Tiger embodies,” she added.