Press Release: Bertie Graduates at 90

23 March 2012

A former MI6 electronics engineer aged 90 has become the UK’s oldest new graduate, after graduating this month with a Masters degree from the University of Buckingham.

Mr Gladwin embarked on his degree in Intelligence History and Bletchley Park Studies at the age of 89 together with his wife, who was then aged 77. “I feel very satisfied to think that I’ve done an MA at my age,” he says. “When you’re 90, you sit around and not a lot happens, so it’s important to carry on learning and to broaden your horizons.”

“I feel very good about it, but really I think I’m just lucky.”

Mr Gladwin has been clocking up degrees for years. At the age of 60, he decided to undertake a BA in Psychology. By the time he was 70 he had also completed a BSc in Molecular Biology. “They’re fascinating subjects,” he says. “I did them just because I was interested in them and wanted to know more about them.”

It was his wife, Wendy, who encouraged him to take the Masters. “She said it was a good way to round off my academic career, and would give me a good sense of accomplishment,” he says. “Plus I had worked at the Government Communications Centre for 20 years, so I had the relevant experience.” Mr Gladwin wrote his dissertation on the use of radio to the underground movements in World War Two France and he was awarded a distinction for it.

Professor Anthony Glees, head of the MA degree, said that every student brought something original and special about themselves into class. “Bertie Gladwin came to us with shedloads of both,” he said. “He relishes political debate and certainly knew how to stir up a storm in seminars.” This year almost half of Professor Glees’s postgraduate students were awarded distinctions.

Mr Gladwin’s advice to anyone considering a degree is to go for it at any age. “It’s never too late to learn,” he says.

For further details, please contact:

Diana Blamires
Publicity Office
University of Buckingham
Tel: +44 (0)1280 820338 / 820213

Notes to Editors

More pictures of Mr Gladwin are available on request.

Buckingham is the only university independent of direct government support in the United Kingdom and has used its independence to pioneer a distinctive approach to higher education.

The University came 21st in The Times’s 2012 Good University Guide, published in 2011, putting it ahead of Russell Group universities such as Kings College London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester. Buckingham scored highest in the country on three indicators – student satisfaction, graduate prospects and staff-student ratio.