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Unbelievable! 80-Year-Old Defies the Odds and Graduates with a PhD from University of Johannesburg



80-year-old received his PhD in engineering management from the University of Johannesburg

Robert Jeffrey, an 80-year-old retired businessman and accomplished scholar, recently received his PhD in engineering management from the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus auditorium. In his thesis, titled “Assessing the actual costs of alternative electricity-generating technologies in SA in line with its economic development requirements,” Jeffrey provides an economic analysis of the electricity generation industry in the country. He assesses the best strategy that the government can use to develop its electricity-generation resources. As reported by TimesLIVE, the thesis took Jeffrey four years to complete and considers the effect of power supply reliability, whether fossil fuel or renewable, on a country’s economy.

The subject matter is a personal interest for Jeffrey, who has had a varied career as an economic analyst, adviser to the Reserve Bank, and consultant in the construction, energy evaluation, and mergers and acquisitions industries. Education comes naturally to him, as his late parents were teachers, and he believes it is crucial for the country’s economic growth and the betterment of its people.

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Despite previously losing his legs and facing nervousness on the day of his graduation, Jeffrey received a standing ovation as he received his degree with his family by his side. Choosing UJ as the university to pursue his PhD, Jeffrey was able to work on a project that could lead to societal change, a fact that he credits to the tools provided by the university. His thesis supervisor, Professor Andre Nel, praised Jeffrey’s dedication and hard work, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ill health.

Jeffrey plans to continue studying the country’s energy progress while focusing on his passion for photography. His accomplishment is a testament to Henry Ford’s famous saying, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”


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Picture: Twitter / LivePretoria

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