Alma Kocialek went back to school at age 84 to finish the degree she started in 1978.
The now 90 year old, graduated from the York University with a diploma, making her the university’s oldest graduate.
Kocialek says that she decided to return to study to finish her degree in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in 2011 after her husband had died from cancer. She says that she is not a person to leave something unfinished. “I knit and I would never want to knit a sweater and leave it without a sleeve or a collar,” she said. “I thought now’s a good a time as any. I have to finish my education.”
Kocialek started her degree at York in 1978, but had to stop taking classes in order to work. She said that people were very supportive when she decided to become a student again. “Most people were very supportive. There were others telling me, ‘Why are you going back to school? You don’t have to.’ But hose people are just negative or jealous.”
Kocialek’s daughter, Judy Brock says that she was not surprised by her mother’s determination. “It was a childhood dream of hers to get a degree,” said Brock.
Kocialek received a standing ovation from her peers at her graduation.