Posted Wednesday 24 January 2024
Kingston University celebrated its oldest ever graduate earlier this month during a graduation ceremony at The Rose Theatre.
Dr David Marjot, 95, graduated with a Masters in Modern European Philosophy and is the oldest person to ever graduate from the University., beating a record previously held by a 93-year-old graduate from 1994.
Dr Marjot, who lives in Surrey, is a psychiatrist by trade and originally qualified as a doctor in 1952. However, the changes in the psychiatry industry in the UK over the years made him decide to go back into education to understand more about philosophy and how it could be applied in the modern profession.
"I knew I was limited on time, so when I saw an advert for the course in The Times Literary Supplement for a course that was local to me, so I decided to apply," he said. "The staff and students at Kingston University were so accommodating to me, it has been a wonderful course and the teaching was excellent, so it's been an honour to do this degree and be a part of such a fantastic university"
Accompanied by his son and son-in-law on his graduation day Dr Marjot received a huge standing ovation from his peers and the audience as he crossed the stage and was awarded his degree by Kingston University Provost Professor Helen Laville.
Dr Marjot gave his advice to those thinking of re-entering education after decades away. "It is a bit of a gamble, but the main thing is if you're interested then go for it," he said. "It was hard work, my memory is not quite what it used to be but I was lucky to have world-class teachers and it was a very positive experience. I think it is important to always keep challenging yourself even as you get older."
After 65 years of marriage Dr Marjot's wife sadly passed away some years before the COVID pandemic and the MA course was important for him to keep his mind occupied during this time.
Professor Stella Sandford taught Dr Marjot and was his dissertation supervisor. "It was a pleasure and a privilege to have David as a graduate student," she said. "David came to Kingston having already had an illustrious career and he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience with him into class discussions.
"We know that diversity in the classroom makes for richer and more interesting discussions, and we mustn't forget that this includes generational diversity. David once told the class about his childhood experience of Empire Day 1938 and compared it to Remembrance Sunday 2022. He was able to connect all that up to what we were studying. It was an amazing and very moving contribution to the class," she added.
At 95 Dr Marjot is now one of the UK's oldest ever graduates with 96-year-old Archie White the current record holder after he graduated from the University of Brighton in 2021.
Dr Marjot is now contemplating starting a part-time doctorate which he would finish at the age of 102!