It’s never too late to get an education. And one man in southern Taiwan proved that by earning his Ph.D. in mechanical and energy engineering at the age of 78.
Originally an electrician in Tainan who began his higher education journey at the age of 58, Ma Min-hsiung (馬敏雄) was the oldest graduate this year at the city’s Kun Shan University (崑山科技大學). Known as Grandpa Ma, he earned his master’s in electrical engineering from the university in 2015. In 2015, he told Apple Daily, “Life can be long or short, but youth has no limit.” He claimed that his enthusiasm for education is due to the support from his family.
Ma noted that he has been mistaken for a professor on campus because of his age. Teachers also praised his enthusiasm for education, stating that he performed better than the average student. Teachers reportedly said, “He is the model student at Kun Shan University.”
In addition to his degrees, Ma has received numerous vocational certifications in his field. He even had the highest mark for a mechatronics certification program at the local vocational center, which generally educates younger students. In 2013 and 2015, he took first place in his group in an English camp competition.
Ma’s sister also holds a Ph.D. in Literature from National Taiwan University and has published numerous novels including Taiwan Dream of Red Chamber (臺灣紅樓夢). She currently teaches at Chih Chien University in Kaohsiung. One of his brothers also teaches physical education at Kun Shan University, according to China Times.