91-Year-Old Earns PhD 30 Years After She Started

Colette Bourlier admits she 'took breaks'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2016 12:00 PM CDT
91-Year-Old Earns PhD 30 Years After She Started
Congrats, Ms. Bourlier!   (Shutterstock)

The next time you feel tempted to say you're too old to start something, think of Colette Bourlier. The Frenchwoman began working on her PhD thesis 30 years ago, and she finally finished it up this year at the age of 91 to complete her degree, the Guardian reports. The reason for the lengthy writing period for the thesis (which a French PhD student usually wraps up in three years or so, the Metro notes): "I took breaks," she says about her work, which she defended Tuesday at the University of Franche-Comte.

Bourlier's interest in obtaining a doctorate was piqued way back when she retired in 1983. Her years of dedication—a perseverance the Metro says has given it "#majorstudygoals"—even earned her a "high distinction" honor for the thesis. The work is entitled "Immigrant Workers in Besancon in the Second Half of the 20th Century" and taps into her own work as a literacy teacher for immigrants in that French city. "She is probably the only person who knew all the aspects in such detail and who was able to weave everything together," her professor says. "She backed it up with statistical analyses." (Someone else who spoke up on immigration issues: William Shakespeare.)

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