04 Oct 2013

93-year-old Cumbrian gains OU degree

Clifford Dadson at his graduation ceremony

Clifford Dadson at his graduation ceremony

Former Engineer Clifford Dadson, aged 93 from Cumbria, has become The Open University’s oldest graduate gaining a BA Open Degree in Arts. His accomplishment comes 60 years on from his last educational experience. A widower, he decided to take up studying again after the passing of his wife Rae.

Back in the 1950s Clifford achieved a Higher National Certificate in Electrical Engineering from London Northampton Polytechnic (now the City of London University). After a high-flying career in control and communications, he decided to pursue further studies with the OU.

Speaking about his time at the OU, he said: “I have been greatly helped by my tutors. Much has changed since I last studied and the OU has introduced the means whereby those who want a degree or diploma to take them forward, now find that it is within their grasp."

On 20th September 2013, Clifford graduated at the Barbican Centre in London. He hopes his achievement can serve as an encouragement to others to fulfil their ambitions.

Speaking about his graduation, Clifford said: “I spoke to many graduates from many different nations and backgrounds, all of whom were so much younger than I, but it made me feel young at heart, and it was a joy to be with young people who now had the world at their feet.”

Having achieved his degree, Clifford has now signed up for another module at the OU. Christina Lloyd, Director of Teaching and Learner Support at the OU, said: “We offer our warm congratulations to Clifford on his graduation and look forward to his achieving Honours. Recently, we celebrated the success of our youngest graduate Cameron (aged 16) who obtained a degree in Maths. Clifford’s and Cameron’s success aptly demonstrates that there is no age barrier to learning. It is gratifying to see the diversity of our student and alumnus populations.”

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 250,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.
The OU is rated in the top five of UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, since the survey began in 2005. In 2012/13 it had a 92% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) The Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.
Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 60 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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