Sask. senior graduating from university at 80

Violet Fahlman would've been eligible to retire about 15 years ago, but instead she's graduating from the University of Regina's Campion College with a degree in pastoral studies — at age 80.

Violet Fahlman decided to enrol in the pastoral studies program

Violet Fahlman, right, at the University of Regina's convocation on Wednesday. (U of R Photography)

Better late than never.

Violet Fahlman would've been eligible to retire about 15 years ago, but instead she's graduating from the University of Regina's Campion College with a degree in pastoral studies — at age 80.

Fahlman said that when she graduated high school in 1956 women got a job, married and had kids. That's what she did, building a contracting company with her husband.

"The hours were long and the stresses high," Fahlman said to CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Wednesday. "My health began to fail and I had no mental clarity, so that kind of motivated me to look for a healthier lifestyle." 

Though she wanted to be a nurse when she graduated, Fahlman said it was while attending her daughter-in-law's convocation that she noticed a student had earned a degree in pastoral studies.

It was something that interested her as a long-time volunteer at her church, so she enrolled in the program in 2014. 

"I felt it would give me a broader and deeper understanding of my faith," she said. 

Now, she's one of 2,261 university graduates receiving their degree this week, the largest ever convocation at the U of R.

Fahlman always wanted to go back to school and she did — 60 years later. (U of R Photography)

​Fahlman, who is Roman Catholic, said she will use the knowledge she gained from her studies within her current business, rather than use it in the church.

"I see that it's still extremely patriarchal and misogynistic. There isn't really a role for women for leadership in that church," Fahlman said.

"They don't deserve the women that work in the church. The women are very powerful and would balance the male-female [ratio] ... They would be that balance there but that's not happening."

In addition to her business, she sings in a group for fundraisers and teaches English as a second language.

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition