Lucille Terry: The 85-Year-Old Student Doing Her Fourth Degree

An 85-year-old student who is working towards her fourth university degree says she “can’t just sit around”.


Lucille Terry from Cirencester completed her first degree, in pharmacy, at the University of Manchester in 1962.


She will finish her fourth degree, her third with The Open University, when she is in her nineties.


Ms Terry was honoured in a ceremony at her parish church on Monday.


Ms Terry, who worked as a teacher, is currently studying for a degree in religious studies, philosophy and ethics.


The Siddington Park resident also has degrees in humanities, psychology and humanities with religious studies, and did a science foundation course at The Open University in 1972, prior to studying for her teaching certificate.

Ms Terry decided that she did not want to “just do crossword puzzles” during her retirement.


“I can’t just sit around, do nothing and watch television all the time,” she said.


“My daughter asked me a few weeks ago, ‘What do you really like to do?’.


“I like studying. I do enjoy it, it’s not a hardship for me.”


Ms Terry said people keep assuming she is “brainy” because she is studying for her fourth degree.


“I’m not clever,” she said.


“I wasn’t brilliant at school, I did A-levels but I didn’t get A*s. I was just middle of the road.


“I think one or two of my Open University courses I got first class honours.


“You don’t have to be brilliant to do it.”


On 20 May, Ms Terry was presented with a framed letter in recognition of her dedication to studying and her amazing achievements by the Reverend Canon Graham and the Reverend Matt Frost.


Ian Pickup, the pro-vice chancellor of The Open University, wrote in his letter to Ms Terry: “Your pursuit of knowledge serves as a beacon of hope and encouragement to individuals of all ages, demonstrating that with dedication and perseverance, anything is possible.”


Ms Terry, who is studying for her degree remotely, said she “couldn’t believe” her presentation, but hopes she inspires others close to her in age.


“I’m so pleased with it, and the more I can do to encourage older people to do something with their lives, something that challenges the brain, the better.


“If I have a day when I’m not studying, on the day that I do study I feel better, and that’s something people aren’t aware of.


“It can really do good for their brain.”

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Written by Joe

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