83-Year-Old Makes History as Howard University’s Oldest Doctoral Graduate


May 22, 2024

It’s never too late to follow your dreams. No one knows that better than Marie Fowler, who, at 83 years old, walked across the commencement stage at Howard University, becoming the university’s oldest doctoral graduate. 

“It was never my thought that I would go beyond maybe one semester because, after all, I had been out of school since 1959,” Fowler told ABC7. “I didn’t even know if I could retain information.”

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Fowler already earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from the Maple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary, but the new grad had been out of school since 1959 before becoming Howard’s most senior student. She was doubtful of her ability to keep up. Inspired by her father’s motto: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” Fowler decided to push forward and pursue her education and honor her parents’ legacy.

“My mom and dad were born in an era when it was illegal for them to learn to read and write,” she said. “We taught my dad how to read and write and how to sign his name so he wouldn’t have to put that X.”

Now that she has her doctorate, Fowler is celebrating her achievement and hoping to encourage others to pursue their education and follow their dreams.


“It is never too late,” she said. “I want everyone to realize that I am 83, which means if I can do it, why not you?”

Congratulations Dr. Marie Fowler!

Cover Photo: 83-year-old Makes History As Howard University’s Oldest Doctoral Graduate / Photo Credit: Instagram


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