- At 74, Colonel Clarence Becknell has bagged his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the Xavier University of Louisiana
- He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the university and another postgraduate degree from Loyola University
- After 40 years of a military career, he returned to Xavier to obtain a doctoral degree to help veterans like himself
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Vietnam War veteran Colonel Clarence Becknell has graduated with a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the Xavier University of Louisiana at age 74.
He served his country as a military officer during the Vietnam War and beyond, and as a school principal, he was responsible for the education of thousands of young people.
Becknell's first degree
For Col. Becknell, there is no end to learning. He received a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Xavier in 1975.
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Becknell earns 2 master's degrees
Soon after, he got a master's degree from Loyola University and another from Xavier. All the while, he was continuing his military service as a national guardsman.
In his seventh decade of life, he started on a quest regarded as too frightening by most young people.
"I'd worked on it before that but getting deployed with the military, I had to give it up years ago," he said, WLOX reports.
Becknell claims he began working on his doctorate at another university in the 1990s but only completed one semester due to deployment during the Gulf War.
But his ambition for the degree did not fade; he thinks it became stronger in the years after his first attempt. As a retiree from the New Orleans Public Schools System and the military, Becknell applied to Xavier's Educational Leadership programme.
Pursuing a doctorate is no small challenge
He began his PhD studies at Xavier after he gain admittance. Becknell confronted the hours of study and research like a military mission.
"Failure is no, that is not in [my] lifeline or psyche; everything revolves around achievement," he said.
After a 40-year military career, Becknell's 100-plus page dissertation focused on military vets. He delivered his dissertation to an academic panel in early May.
Becknell obtained his doctorate in Educational Leadership on May 27, 2023, at the age of 74. He intends to utilise his PhD to help veterans who are having difficulty adjusting to university life.
Black man graduates with master's degree at 71
In a similar story, YEN.com.gh reported that Leroy Harley made waves after graduating from the University of South Carolina with his master's degree in Teaching at 71.
The native of Bowman, South Carolina, took steps to go on a new route towards his passion for education at age 69. And his hard work paid off.
Fresh UDS graduate who set up his company in level 200 reveals why he chose to become an entrepreneur: "I wanted to use my creative skills"
14-year-old Black girl makes history as youngest OCCC graduate in US
Also, YEN.com.gh reported that Shania Muhammad was barely a teenager when she enrolled in Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), and she is now the college's youngest graduate.
Muhammad, 14, obtained her associate degree in Diversified Studies at OCCC, creating history.
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