Thursday, August 02, 2007

Phyllis Turner, 94

According to an official at the Guinness Book of World Records, Phyllis Turner, a 94 year old great-great grandmother, is the world’s oldest recipient of a master’s degree.

Turner's achievement is all the more extraordinary considering that she left school at age 12 to help her mother raise her siblings after her father abandoned the family. She didn't return until she was 70 years old, enrolling in the University of Adelaide in Australia. At age 72, she won a 12-month scholarship to study at the University of California.

After her husband died five years ago, Turner decided to return to the University of Adelaide. She received her master's degree in medical science this summer. No plans yet for a Ph.D.!

Photo Credit: Associated Press, released by the University of Adelaide.


  1. Hello Ms. Boyle:

    I recently read your blog entry on Phyllis Turner, the Australian woman who received her master’s degree at the age of 94. My hat’s off to her, of course.

    I hope you’ll go to my blog “Terence Clarke: Books, Art, Music, Film, Style” at, to look at an article I posted on May 25 entitled “Good Books and Good Ball: What Harriet Doerr, a fine novelist, owed to Bob Gibson, a fine pitcher”. It’s a piece on the writer Harriet Doerr, who published her first novel at the age of seventy-two, a novel that spent several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.

    Thanks much. Congratulations on DEFYING GRAVITY.

    Terry Clarke

  2. grade 5 student6:51 PM

    when did she die???

  3. Dear Grade 5 student: To my knowledge, she hasn't died yet. Let me know if you learn otherwise. --Prill