It’s never too late: Class of ’23 includes 71-year-old graduate

One of Cincinnati State’s proud graduates on May 7, 2023, is Michael Wilson, who at 71 years old will walk across the stage to receive his Associate of Arts degree. 

Humanities & Sciences Co-op Coordinator Jayne Martin Dressing said Michael has been working on his degree for several years, while also facing health and financial issues, transportation challenges, a global pandemic– and the unique experiences that were part of finishing college in his 70s!

Michael wrote a one-act play about his journey that previewed on April 25, 2023, at the Clifton Recreation Center (CRC), where Michael completed community outreach and mentoring activities during Spring Semester.

The play describes Michael’s eight attempts to earn his GED and how he developed the confidence to continue as a Cincinnati State student. The play also conveys Michael’s love of learning and how much he values the opportunity to be a student. 

Michael said, “From 1969 when I first attempted my GED, to the class of 2023, I am finally going to walk down that aisle and get my associate’s degree!”

Michael’s supervisor at CRC, center director Collin Fitzpatrick, said he was “glad to support Mike and help him cap off his program.” 

Eimee Donbar, Michael’s instructor in the Humanities & Sciences Career Exploration course, assisted Michael in understanding and embracing technology as a Cincinnati State student, and also provided oversight for Michael’s experience at the Clifton Recreation Center.

Michael’s “support squad” pictured above includes Derrick Turner (advisor), Dionna Malone, (executive assistant, Humanities & Sciences) Jayne Martin Dressing (co-op coordinator, Humanities & Sciences), Eimee Donbar (co-op coordinator, Humanities & Sciences) and April Clemmons (church friend and soloist in Michael’s play).