When Michael Nicholson parents told him to pursue his education to the fullest, they likely didn't mean for him to still be a student at 71. But the Kalamazoo native just can't seem to get enough schooling: He's currently starting his 30th degree.
"I just stayed in school and took menial jobs to pay for the education and just made a point of getting more degrees and eventually I retired so that I could go full-time to school," he told ABC News.
Nicholson's one bachelor's degree, two associate's degrees, 22 master's degrees, three specialist degrees and one doctoral degree range in disciplines from education to law enforcement. "It's stimulation to go to the class, look at the material that's required and meet the teacher and students. It makes life interesting for me," he says.
And Nicholson is not done yet. "I would like to get to 33 or 34. I'm almost there," he said. "When I complete that, I'll feel like I've completed my basic education. After that, if I'm still alive — that would take me to 80 or 81 — I would then be free to pursue any type of degree."
Nicholson's father was an elementary school dropout; his mother has a high school diploma, but never went to college. "We were motivated to continue with our educations and go as far as we could go," he said, referring to himself and his siblings.
Sharon, Nicholson's wife, has been a Western Michigan University employee for the past 30 years. She told the Kalamazoo Gazette back in 2009 that her husband had inspired her to get seven degrees of her own.
"There were times when I just wanted to take classes, but he encouraged me to go on and get degrees," she said.