New College student graduates at 95

College News News

Image Credit: first degree photography/ Mel Cunningham

A former member of New College, John Phillip Trower, graduated on Saturday (28th July) at the age of 95.

Born in 1923, he spent four years at Eton before he came up. Mr Trower was an undergraduate in history at the College during WW2, matriculating in January 1941 and later earning his BA.

During war time, degree courses were shortened from three to two years as university teaching staff were called away to wartime service, and the University was occupied by a variety of different institutions.

Many colleges, such as Brasenose, provided accommodation to troops, and plans were drawn up to house the Royal Courts of Justice. Baliol College became home to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, or Chatham House, while Keble College provided a home to MI5. Other Colleges, such as Christ Church and St. Peter’s, took in students from other Oxford Colleges, and from further afield.

While certainly one of the oldest members to graduate from New College, and the University, Mr Trower is not the oldest graduate in the world. The oldest ever graduate is Allan Stewart, who graduated from Southern Cross University aged 97 with a Master’s degree in Clinical Science, whilst the oldest living graduate is Shigemi Hirata, who graduated from the Kyoto University of Art and Design at the age of 96 and 200 days in 2016.

Richard Trower and Martin Soldau, his nephews, have organised the much-delayed graduation, which will take place on the same day as many other students of the University graduate. The ceremony took place before many of his family members.