85-year-old graduate still gets a ‘buzz’ out of learning

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An 85-year-old man who is suffering from prostate cancer graduated from university for the fifth time last week.

Eric Frazer from Kirkby Overblow graduated from Leeds Beckett University in a ceremony laid on especially for him due to his declining health.

The former dentist was joined by family, friends and class mates for the graduation, his second since retiring in 2006, where he was described as an ‘inspiration.’

Dr Frazer, who is currently being cared for at St Gemma’s Hospice said he still gets a ‘buzz’ out of learning.

“That feeling when you are acquiring new knowledge and there is a thought or an idea on the horizon, it is so exciting,” he said.

Dr Frazer was diagnosed with cancer almost 15 years ago, and despite his declining health he graduated with a BA Hons degree in English literature, graduating in 2011 before he embarked on a Psychology and Society Degree at Leeds Beckett University.

He was five years into a six year part time course when the University took the decision to set up a special graduation ceremony for him.

Dozens of his classmates attended to congratulate his success, with fellow students making heartfelt speeches.

Dr Frazer said: “They said I inspired them, but they did just as much for me.

“I did this degree because it was just how I wanted to fill my time. I have always been academically minded.”

Dr Frazer’s course leader, Tom Goodwin said he was a true inspiration.

He said: “He is just an incredible person, he is the most wonderful man and a true testament to life long learning.”

He added: “He was one of the few to make it in for nine am lectures every week. The rest of the class worked harder to keep up with him, he lifted every seminar he was in.

“He was very open and very knowledgeable, a real pleasure to teach. He is a one off and I am going to miss him being in my class terribly.

He added: “Eric is a friend to many of us and his positive impact on staff, students and all those who know him is an experience we share.”

Dr Frazer’s three children, Ruth, Benita and Nick all attended the ceremony and are very proud of their father’s achievements.

Dr Frazer first attended the University of Leeds between 1947 and 1952 and has witnessed first hand the difference technology has made to education.

“The speed at which teachers can access tools to explain information online is just tremendous.”

He added: “I had an interest in English Literature and through that Pyscology and Society, I thoroughly enjoyed the seminars and hearing the thoughts of other


Throughout his career Dr Frazer continued academic studies and work and achived a post-graduate degee in dentisty and a Fellowship of Dental Surgary from the Royal College of Surgeons (Eng).

He took up teaching posts at the University of Sheffield and continued to work at his dental surgery in Pudey until 2006.

Staff from St Gemma’s Hospice congratulated Dr Frazer on Facebook attracting over 300 shares which Dr Frazer said he was amazed by.