Retired veteran, 71, graduates with Ph.D. in engineering from Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas (KLBK) — “You’re never too old to learn,” said retired U.S. Air Force veteran Francisco Figueroa.

On Friday evening, the 71-year-old man graduated Texas Tech University in Lubbock with a doctoral degree in systems management engineering.

“It’s been 50 years since I graduated the first time from Texas Tech,” he said.

Figueroa is the first in his family to earn a college degree. He said that seeing his father return to school at earn a GED at the age of 69 inspired him to always continue to learn.

“Never give up on your dreams and always keep on trying to learn a little bit more today than you did yesterday,” Figueroa said.

Along with his wife and son, Figueroa’s mother, Flavia Figueroa, 99, also attended the graduation ceremony.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to come,” Flavia said. “I’m so happy and to see all of my nieces and nephews that were able to come, and cousins, I’m just emotional, very emotional and happy about it. Thank you, God.”

“I’m sure they’re very proud but not nearly as much as I am proud of them for all the support and love they’ve given me over the years,” Figueroa said.

He plans on using his new degree to research and consult with different universities. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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