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71-year-old Frankfort man proving you are never too old to graduate

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 3:31 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) -This weekend the University of Kentucky will celebrate more than 4,400 graduates taking part in ten different ceremonies.

Every student’s story is different on the journey they took to be able to walk across the stage and for some it takes a little longer to complete.

WKYT’s Amber Philpott recently met a Frankfort man proving you are never too old to get a college degree.

When it comes to photography, getting that perfect shot takes time.

Take one step in Ed Lawrence’s Frankfort backyard and you quickly see it is a nature photographer’s dream. “Thing about photography, you get a product fairly quickly,” said Ed Lawrence. When Lawrence retired after a long career with the state, he knew pictures would be in his future.

He has always had a love for the arts, his home is filled with it.

In retirement though, he has not always been out capturing nature’s beauty, he has instead, sometimes been tucked away in his office, hard at work on another passion project.

“I’m graduating only after 50 or so years, I don’t know,” said Lawrence.

That’s right at 71, Lawrence is finally getting his college degree from the University of Kentucky.

“I just enjoy learning and so I was so close to graduating I thought well I’ll just finish up you know and my two boys have both graduated from college and I’m anxious to throw that in their face,” said Lawrence.

The journey to become a graduate is one that spans decades.

“I started out at the University of South Florida and after a year and a half I didn’t do so well in terms of grades,” said Lawrence.

Learning was put on hold again for Lawrence when he joined the military. “There was this little war going on called the war in Vietnam,” said Lawrence. Life happened and college was started and stopped a few more times, but now the fifth time seems to have been the charm.

“I thought I’m going to graduate that’s my bucket list item and so now I’ve got to look for more bucket list items,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence will graduate with a Liberal Studies degree, a 3.6 GPA to boot and his final project is a book of his beloved photos.

This Wildcat has his cap and gown ready to go and a place beside his sons on the wall also ready to document the achievement.

“All I want out of the graduation is a photo like that and I’m going to put it right there,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence has spent a lifetime looking through the lens of life, poised now to capture a milestone moment just a few extra years in the making.

“I’ve got this mantra, end each day with a S-O-A, sense of accomplishment and that just the way I live my life,” said Lawrence.

Ed Lawrence will graduate Saturday at noon from the University of Kentucky.

We checked with UK and Ed will have the distinction of being the “most seasoned” graduate for the May 2021 class.

Ed went back to school as part of the Donovan Scholarship program at UK which is for adults 65 and older.

Lawrence said if you are thinking about taking classes, he would highly recommend taking advantage of this scholarship.

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