Graduate Elisabeth proves it's never too late to learn

She is a former politician who once worked in the glitz of Glasgow’s Theatreland, but an Angus octogenarian is preparing to take centre stage when she graduates from the University of Dundee this week.

Elisabeth Hill says that she will feel “incredibly proud” when she receives her Diploma in Higher Education, an achievement the 80-year-old from Brechin claims will rank among the most memorable of her life.

However, as she prepares to put on her robes for Friday’s ceremony, the grandmother admits that it was winning her battle against endometrial cancer in 2014 that initially prompted her to return to education.

“There’s no doubt that falling ill made me re-examine my life,” she said.

“I had a wonderful surgeon at Ninewells who managed to remove my cancer and having that second chance made me think more about what I wanted to do with my life.

“That’s when I started to think about studying at university.”

Starting her BA Professional Development course in 2015, Elisabeth soon found herself at the centre of student life and immersing herself in books at the University library.

Not that she has ever been a stranger to hard work, having served as a local councillor in Angus from 1988-1995 and establishing herself as one of the foremost authorities on supporting people with drug and alcohol problems in the region, work for which she received an OBE in 2000.

Prior to entering politics, Elisabeth worked as a press officer at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre in the 1960s, promoting the era’s stars of the stage, while today she continues to work as the chair of Angus Women’s Aid. But despite her distinguished career, Elisabeth said that the pride of graduating from university would more than match any of her previous achievements.

To be joined by her husband Robert and son Hamish at Friday’s ceremony, she added, “I will feel incredibly proud.

“It will be exhilarating to go on to that stage and collect my diploma and I only hope that my experience will encourage more people to carry on learning.

“The brain can take in so much and I have found it so invigorating to go back to university and broaden my horizons.

“I’m still not sure what I will do with my diploma, but for me a huge part of the experience has just been learning something new and pushing myself, and I hope that is something that other people can relate to.”

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