After being faced with myriad of challenges, including an experience that almost took his life, a 70-year-old man has successfully made a defense of his dissertation and is now quickened to impart knowledge to his students. Joseph M. Grant will be joining the graduating class of 2021, having bagged his Ph.D. in political science from Howard University.
At 65, Grant began his doctorate pursuit in 2015, which is a conviction that actualizing one’s dream is not time-bound.
He was bent on pursuing his doctorate at an HBCU albeit, but he actually did. It was indeed a dream come true for him to relocate to Washington DC from South Carolina to make that possible.
“I always wanted to go to Howard, literally all my life. This is my first HBCU experience. When I graduated high school, there was a big move to integrate, and because they needed Black students and I needed the money, it was an easy decision to go to those schools. I was determined [as I got older] that when my children were in college, they would go to an HBCU,” Howard edu reports.
At Howard, Grant’s major at Howard was in political science with an emphasis on American government and Black politics.
Reacting to the news and feat achieved by Grant, people have been bewildered on why a 65-year-old man, who began his career working in politics and government as an association executive and lobbyist wanted to do extensive research in political science. However, Grant said he wanted to know more about how Black people and Black culture engaged with the political processes, a report said.
With the full support of an encompassing team at his faculty, Grant began his research full of enthusiasm and life only to be grappled in his tracks by a near-death experience for close to two years. He suffered a subdural hematoma which almost made it impossible for him to continue his research.
But giving up was not an option for Grant. Aside from the constant support from his family, his other motivation was in the support his school was giving him and the investment they had made in him.
“My surgery altered my course of study and seriously threatened my ability to complete my program. I almost died.” Grant said. “It took a lot of effort, support, patience, and understanding from the Department of Political Science and the Howard University Graduate School.”
Immediately after his surgery, he had to learn how to do almost everything again. “I had to learn to hold a knife and fork, and I had major confusion and memory loss. I could not comprehend what I read nor understand its importance to what I was trying to do.”
Fortunately, Howard sponsored his research and Grant is now set to graduate. With his success, the grandfather is determined to let his two-year-old grandson attend an HBCU, precisely, Howard.
“I’m lobbying real hard for him to attend my HBCU. I’ve decided that when I put my dissertation in a bind, I”m going to give it to him, Mason, with my autograph. I want him to know that his grandfather did it and that I completed my program at 70 after facing many challenges. I want him to be really motivated to come to Howard when it’s his time,” said Grant.
Grant’s story has since been an inspiration to many on the internet after his son celebrated him on the microblogging platform, Twitter. Meanwhile, the Chair of the Department of Political Science, Ravi Perry, Ph.D., was also in awe of Grant’s accomplishments and his work at Howard.
“Grant’s determination, his research acumen, and the efficiency with which he successfully matriculated through our rigorous graduate studies is a shining light for all of us to never ever give up on one’s dreams. Learning from the lifelong experiences of students like Dr. Grant enriches the teaching profession. The classroom is truly a community of co-learners,” Perry said.