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73Year-old Florence Nwando Bagged PhD. From Howard University, USA

From the headline, you will agree with me as I have over the years with these quotes that, “Age is just but a number”, “There is no limit to what you can achieve in life”, “You are never too late, you are may not just be on the widely accepted time” and more and more quotes that resonate with this unique feat.

At even 40, an average Nigerian has given up on their goals and dreams of bagging a BSc. not to talk of something more.

73year-old Florence has proven beyond doubt that there is nothing impossible only what has never been attempted or started.

Florence is the oldest of 5 sisters of their parents. She has had four degrees and this recent achievement makes the fifth in her lifetime.

She lost her parents while on this journey to getting her fifth degree. In her words, “In my second year at Howard, and very close to my screening test, I lost my mother and my father within months. I had to return to Nigeria each time to perform the demanding burial ceremonies for each. I was completely deflated, both physically and emotionally, but I persevered because my father always wanted me to be a ‘Doctor.”

Florence is one of the survivors of the Biafra war that occurred in Nigeria over 5 decades ago. She had an encounter around that period that remained her push in life till today. In her words, “The day the Nigeria-Biafra War ended, I, like everyone was wallowing in anxiety and fear about what would happen to us as the vanquished. A very optimistic gentleman came over to me and asked: ‘Why are you so sad; can’t you see you have survived this terrible war?’ I stood up, even though the Nigerian Airforce was on its last bombing raid, and leapt up in the air in mad glee, repeating to myself and others: ‘Yes, I have survived, I am a survivor!’ This powerful survival instinct in me, which I call daring, and God’s help, is what made me overcome all personal challenges during my doctoral program and get to where I am today!”

Despite it was gathered that Florence had a deformity in her voice and one of her eyes yet remained undaunted in the face of this. Not only did Florence graduated but did very well in her thesis that caught the eye of everyone which based upon her personal experiences as a survivor of the Nigerian Civil War.

Today, we felicitate with Florence who is now a graduating member of Howard University’s Class of 2020 earning a doctorate in Communication, Culture and Media Studies.

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