Campus News

66-year-old Graduate Breaks the Norms to Receive his Degree

Bob FitzSimmonds
Bob FitzSimmonds recently graduated with a Master of Science in Library Science. Pete Comparoni I UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2019) — After a 40-year break, Bob FitzSimmonds III returned to the classroom to receive his Master of Science in library science using the Donovan Fellowship.

The Donovan Fellowship is a tuition waiver program for adults, 65 years or older, taking academic courses at the University of Kentucky. The tuition waiver, available through UK's Office of Lifelong Learning, is available for courses held on campus and limited availability for UK online classes.  

Donovan Fellows may audit courses for the joy of learning (exams, papers or other assignments are typically not required), take courses for credit without working toward a degree or take classes for credit as a degree-seeking candidate.  

In his life prior to the Donovan Fellows, FitzSimmonds had a varied career. He worked in banking for 14 years, ran a nonprofit for a decade and then was chief deputy clerk of court in Prince William County, Virginia, for the last decade.  

 “I’m 66 years old, which is retirement age, but I am not ready to retire. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to take on new challenges in a field I have come to late in life," FitzSimmonds said.

He decided to become a Donovan Fellow because he had reached retirement age but wished to continue a career path he had previously started.

“I had been mistaken for a professor a couple of times, and several folks have expressed surprise that I am a student, but everyone thinks it is great that I am back in school,” he said.

FitzSimmonds now plans to continue his studies in library sciences to further his suitability for a job in the field of librarianship.

“Being a Donovan Fellow has been incredibly rewarding. I found the learning tools to be user friendly, classmates to be very accepting and the professors really willing to assist.”

FitzSimmonds previously received a bachelor’s degree in history from Asbury University, and his wife attended UK for her master’s degree in English.

For more information about the Donovan Fellowship contact Tyler Barber at 859-257-2657 or

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