At the Age of 93, Ohio Engineer Receives Diploma Decades After Completing Final Class

Unexpected Degree Achievement: 93-Year-Old Ohio Engineer Receives Diploma 30 Years After Last Class

Ohio native Robert Greathouse hadn’t foreseen that he would attain a degree after completing his final class at the University of Akron three decades ago.

It hadn’t been part of his original plan.

However, on Monday, there he stood, donned in a cap and gown, surrounded by family and friends at the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

At the age of 93, Greathouse became the University of Akron’s oldest graduate during the ceremony, achieving his associate’s degree in technical studies an impressive 65 years after enrolling in his inaugural class at the college.

From Military Service to Goodyear Aerospace
During the Korean War, Greathouse worked as an aircraft mechanic and was honorably discharged in 1954.

The following year, he leveraged that experience to secure a role as an electronics technician at Goodyear Aerospace. Yet, in order to progress in his career, he realized that he needed to hit the books.

“If I completed a course, I could gain access to one of the laboratories at Goodyear Aerospace,” he shared.

This decision was made in 1958. His focus was on acquiring the knowledge essential for his desired job role, rather than pursuing a formal degree.

“The intention wasn’t to obtain a degree,” he explained. “The intention was to secure a better job.”

‘Equipping Yourself with Essential Skills’
Back in 1960, he faced a layoff. However, he swiftly secured a position at Lear Siegler Aerospace, progressing from an electronics technician to the role of a test equipment design engineer. Throughout this journey, he maintained his enrollment in courses at the University of Akron, adapting as necessary until the year 1993.

“It was a necessity if I intended to advance,” he emphasized. “Equipping yourself with essential skills is vital.”

Within the realm of Lear’s offerings, Greathouse was responsible for the design of test equipment, spanning across an array of products, from generators to hydraulic machinery to aircraft control systems. Remarkably, this scope encompassed the creation of weapons systems that remain in active deployment to this day.

“We were involved in the production of the missile defense system that is currently utilized in Ukraine,” he remarked.

A Source of Inspiration for the University President
The President of the University of Akron, Gary L. Miller, expressed to Greathouse that he served as an inspiration “for every individual present in this gathering.”

“Today, you achieve the distinction of becoming the oldest individual to attain a degree in the entire history of the University of Akron,” he proclaimed.

Tim Greathouse, a resident of Cuyahoga Falls and the son of Robert Greathouse, highlighted that his father’s education and expertise continue to hold relevance in the contemporary world.

“Present him with an electrical diagram, and he’ll decipher it for you,” he affirmed.

Mary Batyko, a North Ridgeville resident and one of Greathouse’s seven children, stressed that her parents upheld a deep appreciation for education, instilling it within their offspring.

“We were raised with the expectation that pursuing higher education was a given,” mentioned Batyko, who herself is an educator within Akron schools.

She further noted that her father possesses an insatiable appetite for reading, particularly in the realms of history and mathematics.

A Remarkable Day for the Oldest University Graduate
Jane Rotsching, a resident of Cincinnati and one of the two daughters of Greathouse, initiated the process of obtaining the degree when her father experienced a medical incident. While going through records, she stumbled upon her father’s University of Akron transcripts, revealing that he had completed a substantial number of courses.

She reached out to the University of Akron registrar, who subsequently got in touch with Ann Usher, the associate dean of the Buchtel College.

“They had his academic transcript,” she recounted.

Usher uncovered that Greathouse had accrued enough credits to qualify for an associate’s degree in technical studies.

Moving ahead to Monday, as Miller presented Greathouse with his degree after 65 years of anticipation.

“Being here today is truly astonishing,” expressed Greathouse. “I can hardly believe it.”