TAMPA, Fla. – Thousands of people will graduate from the University of South Florida this weekend. John Voelpel, 81, who graduated Friday night is the oldest graduate of this semester.
"Getting the doctorate is wonderful, the toga and the headdress feel a little warm," laughed John Voelpel.
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Voelpel earned a Ph.D. in philosophy He took his first class at USF in 2002 without any credit. He was about 15 years old.
"I've learned a lot through the philosophy department because philosophy is really where science started," Voelpel said.
He shared photos of his high school yearbook for almost 60 years.
He graduated from the University in 1959 from the University of Illinois. He graduated in Law from Wayne State University in 1972.
He sent a career in environmental law before attending the University of South Florida. Although he graduated on Friday, he said he was already enrolled in a class this summer.
"I'm a different person who came to this school," said Voelpel.
His advice to graduates included finding a passion and never letting it die. He also said never stop asking questions.
"We should never feel that we have reached that point in life when we no longer have the responsibility to ask questions and then look for answers," Voelpel said.
"Have fun, to all of us who are going out into the world with a new degree, etcetera," he added.