At 97, Allan gets fourth degree
IN A world of almost seven billion people, 97-year-old Southern Cross University graduate Allan Stewart stands alone.
Not only does Mr Stewart already hold the Guinness World Records title for being the World's Oldest Graduate - a title he earned after graduating with a law degree aged 91 - but today he will surpass it.
Mr Stewart will graduate with a Master of Clinical Science (Complementary Medicine) at the University's Lismore campus - his fourth university degree.
"I think I can hang up my mortar board and academic robes after this one - although I said that after my last degree and then I got bored. I have so much time on my hands these days and I like to keep mentally active," the nonagenarian said.
Mr Stewart's unique achievement has set a phenomenal benchmark in human history.
At the age of 97 years and 58 days the erudite and energetic bachelor will take to the podium to receive his degree and deliver the graduate address.
He will compare being a university student in 2012 with the 1930s, when he completed his first degree, in dentistry.
Mr Stewart lives independently in his own home, walks around his neighbourhood in the Port Stephens area of NSW daily, fishes, swims in the sea, cooks, grows fruit and vegies in his backyard, acts as a carer to a friend, and supports the community as an assistant in the local community technology centre.
He has six children (one deceased), 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
"Truly, the man is a living legend and such a tremendous inspiration to those who aspire to age well and pursue lifelong learning," says Dr Sonya Brownie, one of Mr Stewart's supervisors during his two-and-a-half-year masters degree.
However, Mr Stewart is modest: "Oh, it's nothing really… I have just been blessed with good genes," he said.
He attributes his vitality to fitness of mind, body, purpose, spirit and social fitness.