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Ex-Military Man Who Risked His Life for 40yrs, Goes Back to School, Bags PhD at 74

Cursory: At 74, Colonel Clarence Becknell has bagged his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university and another postgraduate degree from Loyola University. After 40 years of a military career, he returned to Xavier to obtain a doctoral degree to help veterans like himself

Colonel Clarence Becknell, a Vietnam War veteran, achieved a significant milestone at the age of 74 by graduating with a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Throughout his life, he served his country as a military officer during the Vietnam War and continued his service afterward. As a school principal, he played a crucial role in shaping the education of numerous young individuals.

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For Col. Becknell, learning has always been a lifelong pursuit. He initially earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Xavier in 1975. Subsequently, he obtained master’s degrees from both Loyola University and Xavier, all while continuing his military service as a national guardsman.

“I’d worked on it before that but getting deployed with the military, I had to give it up years ago,” he said, WLOX reports.

Becknell claims he began working on his doctorate at another university in the 1990s but only completed one semester due to deployment during the Gulf War.

With his newly acquired PhD, Becknell aims to make a difference in the lives of veterans who encounter difficulties adjusting to university life. His passion for attaining the degree did not wane over time; in fact, it grew stronger.

As a retiree from both the New Orleans Public Schools System and the military, Becknell applied to Xavier University’s Educational Leadership program to pursue his aspirations.

He began his PhD studies at Xavier after he gain admittance. Becknell confronted the hours of study and research like a military mission. “Failure is no, that is not in [my] lifeline or psyche; everything revolves around achievement,” he said.

Following a distinguished 40-year military career, Becknell dedicated his 100-plus page dissertation to addressing the challenges faced by military veterans.

In early May, he presented his dissertation to an academic panel, marking a significant step in his journey. Finally, on May 27, 2023, at the age of 74, Becknell achieved his goal and obtained a doctorate in Educational Leadership.


Read Also: Inspiring 99-Year-Old Man Celebrates High School Graduation, Finally Gets His Diploma


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