Le Phuoc Thiet, an 85-year-old man in the central coastal province of Quang Nam, has just been awarded a master’s degree in business management from Duy Tan University.
Thiet set his mind on gaining his master’s 14 years after graduating from university in the United States.
“Graduation day was one of the most important days in my life because it fulfilled all my dreams,” he said.
Thiet took his wife and seven children to the United States since 1975. When all his children were married, he started to think about going to university. Thiet was 60 years old at the time.
He graduated in finance at a university in California in 2001. After getting his bachelor’s degree, Thiet was planning to go for his master’s, but his wife fell seriously ill, so he had to spend both his time and money to take care of her. His dream was delayed for many years.
When his wife recovered in 2012, the couple decided to return Vietnam, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.
Three years later, Thiet once again thought about going back to school. He began his master’s course in 2015 at Duy Tan University in Da Nang, registering for a class that started at 6pm and finished at 9pm three days a week.
The university is about 40km far from Thiet’s house, so he had to take a bus to school. When the class finished, his nephew picked him up and took him home by motorbike. His nephew, Le Phuoc My, is also Thiet’s classmate.
“My uncle is very studious,” My said. The only time he missed a class was when he was in hospital, he added.
“Bad weather was never a reason for him not to go to the school,” he said. My said his grandfather’s dedication gave him the motivation to learn.
Thiet said if the rain was light, he and his nephew returned home after class, but if it was heavy they would rent a hotel room.
“Sometimes I think of those days sitting behind my nephew on his motorbike in the pouring rain. I don’t know how I survived,” Thiet added. “Fortunately, God blessed me and I feel thankful for that,” he said.
Thiet said to complete the course in three years, he had to arrange subjects depending on levels of difficulty. Based on the list, he would spend more time learning subjects with higher levels of difficulty so that he could pass his exams.
English, philosophy and human resources were three subjects he was good at, he said.
He spent a lot of time on his homework, and talking to younger students in his class to learn more about issues that he found difficult. “I learnt a lot from my younger classmates,” he said.
Thiet learnt how to use a laptop, chat with teachers and classmates and make slideshows.
Thiet is also working on his health, and recently bought a treadmill and which he spends 30 minutes per day on. “I need to stay healthy to go to school and finish the course of my life,” he said.
Vo Thanh Hai, vice principle of the university, said he admired the way Thiet had tried to finish the course. “He is an excellent example for youngsters,” Hai said.
Thiet was one of the outstanding students on the course thanks to his non-stop efforts, Hai said.
Speaking at his graduation day, Thiet said: “I feel happier than ever; my old-age has become more meaningful thanks to this day.”VNA