WILLIAM Potter was No 73 on the graduation list at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) graduation ceremony in Invercargill on Friday.
Ironic really, as it is also his age.
The Invercargill senior citizen, who received a graduate diploma in project management, was one of more than 450 students who took part in two ceremonies at the Civic Theatre. Another 544 will graduate in absentia.
For Mr Potter, learning was a pivotal part of staying young.
“It keeps the brain active,” he said.
“You can always learn something new.”
He started SIT2LRN online study while working full time as an accountant in 2014, and had continued studying at the institute ever since.
He said he had already begun his next course applied management.
Invercargill resident Helene Geoffroy-Legeay was full of emotion after the ceremony yesterday.
Formerly an air traffic controller in the French Navy, she arrived in Invercargill three years ago and began her bachelor of therapeutic and sports massage degree after wishing to make a complete career change.
While the academic part of learning was difficult at times, having French as a first language had some advantages, she said.
“For the technical stuff like anatomy and physiology it wasn’t an issue as it was in Latin, so it was easier for me to learn.”
The emotion came as she realised now study was over, it was the end of one journey, she said.
Her plan was to stay in New Zealand and settle in Central Otago with her husband.
SIT graduate Melanie Langlotz, an Auckland-based entrepreneur and the creator, owner and chief executive of Geo AR Games, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
Ms Langlotz completed SIT2LRN online study about five years ago and said studying gave her the confidence to start her own company, and helped pave the way to a successful career.
“It brings more control over your life and what you want to do. I gained a piece of paper that said I know what I know, and it helps when you deal with imposter syndrome,