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Graham Dennis
Graham Dennis with his wife

Press Release - 09 December 2008

Graduate proves age is no barrier to education

A student from the University of Bath’s Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering graduated today at the age of 73, gaining an MPhil (Master of Philosophy).

Graham Dennis is one of only a handful of students in their seventies who have been awarded postgraduate degrees at the University and is the oldest within his department.

He wanted to return to university after a fifty year career that has taken him from apprenticeship to the boardroom of some of the country’s leading electrical companies.

His undergraduate studies were carried out on day release from his training and at evenings, leading to Graduate Membership of The Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Mr Dennis describes raised eyebrows from colleagues who felt he should now be spending his time fishing or golfing but he doesn’t see himself as being ready for that life just yet.

“Completing the MPhil has given me peace of mind that I can still use the grey matter to carry out fundamental research,” said Mr Dennis. “It’s satisfying that there are still opportunities to do major development work in association with universities.

“Age is not an issue. If you have the time and inclination to study it’s most stimulating. It’s given me an added zest for life. I’m now looking for my next challenge: the opportunity to promote the university’s excellent research facilities through my wide cross-section of contacts in the UK and abroad would be stimulating.”

Mr Dennis found himself studying mostly with students in their mid-twenties and said they got along fine, including quite a bit of banter. “You’d be surprised how many people turned to me for advice or a heart-to-heart on their studies or life in general. Quite a few were from Hong Kong, China and Iran where I lived and worked during my career.”

Dr Miles Redfern, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, said: “Graham has written and presented several papers at international conferences and the ideas are providing the basis for a new range of condition monitoring equipment to improve the continuity of electrical power supplies.

“At the young age of 73, Graham is an inspiration for all our researchers. He will never retire in the conventional sense. He is now a director of EA Technology in Chester and is key to their expansion into new areas of system monitoring.”

Mr Dennis is a chartered engineer and a fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology. He has held senior posts in a number of electricity supply and consulting companies and was involved with the Supply Industry Privatisation Process. He has worked for Government Departments on many major projects, including developing markets in the Middle and Far East. He now runs his own consultancy in Maidenhead.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: