This 90-year-old graduate just taught us why it’s never too late to learn something new

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Hollie Richardson
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90 year old woman gradutes masters degree in Australia

Thinking about finally doing that masters degree? This 90-year-old woman is the only inspiration that you need right now.

We’ve got a story that will warm your cockles on this drizzly summer’s day (what happened to the heatwave, huh?). 

An elderly woman has defied ageism by proving that it really is never too late to do something incredible. 

Lorna Prendergast, a 90-year-old from Australia, received her Masters of Ageing degree at The University of Melbourne’s graduation ceremony last week.

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ABC news reported that Prendergast, who completed her the whole course online, said: “The more I know now, the more I want them to follow their dreams. Nobody is too old to sit down and say, ‘I’m too old, I can’t do it’. There’s no such word as ‘can’t’ in the dictionary.”

In a recorded interview (which you can watch here) the new graduate continued:

“Well, my daughter reminded me of CS Lewis, who said that ‘you’re never too old to dream’, and to think of another project. And I believe that, and don’t ask me what mine is going to be, but I’m sure something will come up once I get my house in order.”

The report also explained that Prendergast decided to return to study in order to “keep going with her life” following the death of her husband Jim who she had been married to for 64 years.

The fantastic news came a week after the first group of women to enroll at any UK university were finally awarded their degrees – 150 years after they first began their studies.

The group of women - Sophia Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson and Emily Bovell – enrolled as medical students at the University of Edinburgh in 1869, and in doing so became the first group of women to study at any UK university, despite the significant backlash and barriers put in place in order to limit their success.

Famously, the women were prevented from graduating and qualifying as doctors because of the discrimination they faced at the hands of the university and their male peers.

Now, 150 years later, seven female students from the current graduating class of Edinburgh Medical School picked up degree certificates on behalf of the “Edinburgh Seven” on Saturday, as part of a number of events being held by the university to honour the achievements of women.

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So, channel your inner Prendergast and continue your learning journey and follow those dreams. 

Image: Getty


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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