Tom (82) inspires the nation as he graduates from WIT with Arts degree

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Pictured left is Tom Boyle

Pictured left is Tom Boyle

Returning to college at 78 was something that new graduate Tom Boyle wishes he had done 20 years earlier – and says if he can do it anyone can

As the second day of conferring ceremonies took place at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), 82-year-old Tom Boyle graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Irish.

Tom, who is possibly Ireland’s oldest full-time undergraduate student, turned 82 last week, and was joined at the 10am ceremony on Thursday 31 October 2019 by his wife Phyllis, his six daughters, son, and three grandchildren.

He shot to fame in 2016 when a video of his classmates singing happy birthday to him as he turned 79 went viral.

While studying in Waterford city he travelled to college each day from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford. Tom, who started his studies at WIT initially as a Law student made the move to Arts. He has previously said that his only regret is he didn’t return to college sooner. Returning to education is something that he wishes he had done 10 or 20 years ago. 

Listen to some of the engaging media interviews with Tom here:

Tom told Morning Ireland that he returned to education at the age of 78 because wanted to achieve something. What was the experience of going back to college for Tom? “Marvellous, absolutely marvellous, everybody in WIT went out of their way to make me welcome.” Listen to the full interview here:

“It was niggling in my mind before I took up the courage to do it,” Tom told Jennifer Zamparelli on 2fm. He was never worried about being able to complete the course, he told Jennifer. “I was determined to stick with it one way or another,” he said. Listen to the full interview (33 mins 35 seconds in) at:

Tom also spoke to Beat’s Sunday Grill presenter Orla Rapple about why he chose to study Arts (Irish and English) and what he worked at over the years prior to his study. The full interview can be heard (36 mins 50 seconds in) at

RTE News also ran a piece:

Related Courses

Bachelor of Arts in  Arts (Hons)

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