Never Too Late to Learn: 81-Year-Old Earns Bachelor’s Degree Broward College

After four decades spent in the electrical engineering industry, retirement wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be for Roberto Viana, an 81-year-old living in El Callao, a port city along the Pacific Coast of Peru that has become more notorious for crime than as a maritime landmark.  He figured a change of scenery might do him and his wife some good.

To be closer to their sons who had already departed for the United States to pursue their education, the couple left Peru and relocated to South Florida. But the electrician in Robert needed an even a bigger charge out of the golden years of his life. He enrolled at Broward College, where he learned English and, perhaps, gained more than he had bargained for: an associate degree in Supply Chain Management.

“I have always been the type of person who needs to be occupied with something,” said Roberto, who will take part in commencement exercises, Dec. 11, at Live Rock, in Hollywood, Fla. “I have always had a desire for learning, and I didn’t think it was ever too late to stop.”

Roberto owned his own business and worked for three transnational companies throughout his professional career, but he still had a few things he could learn.

“Going back to school so many years later and attending class with young people that could be my grandchildren was such an interesting experience,” said Roberto. “I was able to get to know how they think, and I was actually quite surprised to see that I was wrong in certain things.”

Forever Young

Roberto complimented his online courses with classes on campus, where, to his surprise, he was welcomed by his younger peers.

“I made friends with people from so many different cultures and all walks of life,” he said. “I think that was my favorite part of being able to go back to school now.  I was also able to share many of my life’s experience just because they could help my fellow classmates in their future endeavors.”

With a little bit of English to his credit, Roberto speaks well of his college experience, which has rejuvenated him at a time when many seniors his age are coping with physical challenges.

“I’m always on the go,” he said. “My doctor always tells me that I should be proud of myself because I look way better than the other 80-year-olds in his office’s waiting room.”

Plan for Future

Roberto hasn’t seen the last of Broward College. He enrolled full-time for classes in the spring semester and expects to earn a bachelor’s degree a year from now. Perhaps, he may even return to work.

“I really enjoy keeping myself busy,” he said. “Who knows, I may find something that allows me to travel back and forth to Peru.”

Broward College provides opportunities for personal and professional growth to all members of our community. Learn about careers in Supply Chain Management and more here.