An exceptional Nigerian grandma named Ifeyinwa Felicia Marinze has broken the record of the University of Lagos, Nigeria after graduating with a PhD at the age of 71.
Ifeyinwa Felicia Marinze was named the oldest ever PhD graduate to be produced by the institution. She worked as a Lecturer at the Yaba College of Technology, Nigeria and rose through the ranks to become a Chief Lecturer in the institution.
However, she retired and thereafter made seeking more education her retirement project. “Before I even came in I took it as a retirement project. I retired from YABATECH as a chief lecturer so I needed to keep the brain working. So I have been taught that the brain can be extended to any level. But if you allow it to be dormant, it would die,” she said.
The 71-year-old grandma worried that if she did not keep her brain busy, it would die and could later result in the death of her entire system. “Once it starts dying, the whole system will soon die. And I am not ready to die yet so I decided to really use the brain and put into practice what I have experienced all my years of teaching in order to bring out solutions to problems I encountered in the classroom,” she added.
Mrs Marinze had all her Bachelor’s Degree in Education but decided to challenge her brain by enrolling for a degree in the core French language. She went from studying for her Master’s Degree in French to studying for a Masters of Philosophy and finally a PhD degree.
“It took me nine years to get the PhD. I came in first, I did a masters. I have had all my degrees in education and I needed to enhance my French because it was Education, French, English I read in my first degree at the University of Ibadan. I came here to read Curriculum studies at the Faculty of Education – core French,” she said.
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Dr Marinze also noted that the journey to her PhD degree took her 9 years to achieve after her retirement. “So I had to come over to the Faculty of Arts to take on Masters in French. After that I did MPhil and from MPhil to PhD and that took a period of nine years,” she explained.
Celebrating her success as the oldest graduate with a Doctorate degree, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, South-West, Nigeria, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe revealed that at 71 years old, Dr Marinze produced the best PhD thesis and showed the world that age was never a barrier to attaining any height.
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Now that she is done, Dr Marinze said she plans to use her findings from her PhD to advance the study of French in Nigeria. As an author of six books already, she said she was working on a new book that would help teach French to English speakers.