Meet The World’s Slowest Student, 72-Yr-Old Arthur Ross

London: He had enrolled for graduation in 1969.

Almost five-and-a-half decades later, Arthur Ross finally completed his Bachelor of Arts degree from University of British Columbia (UBC) last week.

The 71-year-old Ross is the new record holder for taking the longest period of time to complete a university degree.

“I just wanted to learn because I was curious,” Ross said in an interview with BBC.

That desire for learning inspired him to finish his degree after all these years.

Ross’ initial plan was to get a degree in English, according to a UBC press release. But by his second year, he had become passionate about theatre and he was spending a lot of time in the theatre department, doing shows and taking courses to pursue his nascent goal of becoming an actor.

“I was besotted with theatre at the time. It was alive then, with a sense of vitality and newness. It seemed just electric to me,” Ross recalled.

Two years into his degree course at UBC, Ross left to complete a three-year programme at National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. But a self-assessment brought him to a painful conclusion.

“I liked it too much. It wasn’t going to be healthy for me. I knew I was a good actor but I always thought you had to be great,” he said.

He then went to law school in Toronto, graduated and spent 35 years as a civil litigator in Metro Vancouver before retiring in 2016.

In November 2016, he got a new student number at UBC, and became a part-time student focusing on history, with a particular interest in First World War.

“I simply could not grasp why so many people would be prepared to participate in this butchery. However, the great revelation of pursuing a history degree was not in answering that initial question, but in looking at the sordid nature of Canadian history,” he said.

“I’m appreciative of the students accepting that old guy tuning in from outer space,” Ross told UBC.

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