This 88-year-old woman just earned her master’s degree in theology: ‘If you don’t work, you’re idle’

Eighty-eight-year-old Sheila Griffin is among the oldest students at Kansas State University, obtaining her doctorate in Christian Theology – a means of ‘honouring God’ This 88-year-old woman just earned her master’s degree in theology:…

This 88-year-old woman just earned her master’s degree in theology: ‘If you don’t work, you’re idle’

Eighty-eight-year-old Sheila Griffin is among the oldest students at Kansas State University, obtaining her doctorate in Christian Theology – a means of ‘honouring God’

This 88-year-old woman just earned her master’s degree in theology: ‘If you don’t work, you’re idle’

On top of her job as the Kansas State University Extension director, 83-year-old Sheila Griffin is also one of the oldest students in the university’s history, obtaining her master’s degree in Christian Theology.

Griffin credits living a healthy lifestyle – she exercises three times a week – along with regular church services, journals and the Bible for motivating her.

“For me, it’s important to serve, to reach out,” she says. “Life is the reward. That’s why I seek it and have committed to serving. That’s why we work so hard. To honour God.”

The 84-year-old’s full-time job as a director – which she has held for 23 years – is the perfect complement to her studies at Kansas State, her alma mater.

“I’m surrounded by many young people who are working on being better Christians,” Griffin says. “Their concern is not if I get in for an hour, but if I’m there.”

Griffin earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska, in 1950. She then received a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Kansas in 1955, and a Ph.D. in theological and ecclesiastical studies from the Catholic University of America in 1963. She began attending the Lawrence campus of Kansas State University, where she was also head of a women’s Bible study group, in 1966.

As the eldest member of the Bible study group, Griffin has become “one of the county’s grand old ladies”, according to one student who once spoke to her.

Griffin said she is grateful that God is willing to allow her to work with young people on a personal level.

“When you work with people so many years, you can see your peers not only become lovers and companions, but become widows and divorcees,” she says. “It’s an important thing that God is willing to keep me working with young people.”

The university views Griffith’s achievements in church attendance and follow-up as a wonderful example to young women.

“She has demonstrated God’s promise to honour and bless who work to faithfully live out the values of Christianity in life,” says Robyn Sanders, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management. “Sheila Griffin is an example to the women at Kansas State.”

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