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Spotlight on Walden // Aug 02, 2013

90-Year-Old PhD in Management Grad Says “I Just Want to Keep Learning”

At almost 90 years old, one would think that Dr. Wendell Mayes Jr., a PhD in Management graduate, would be content to sit back and enjoy his retirement. But no, not Dr. Mayes. More than 10 years ago, the Austin, Texas, resident sold his last radio station after being in the broadcast business for 50 years and decided he needed a new challenge.

“When I retired, I decided I didn’t want to sit around, so I explored going back to school,” said Dr. Mayes. He first returned to school in Austin to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in computer science and then proceeded to earn two master’s degrees. But his lifelong learning didn’t end there.

“I still wanted to do something more, so I researched Walden and enrolled,” said Dr. Mayes, who specialized in finance and is attending Walden’s summer commencement in August in Minneapolis. Enrolling in an online program provided him with the flexibility he wanted at this stage in his life.

While at Walden, Dr. Mayes focused his research and dissertation on how individuals go about making investment decisions. He noticed that while there was plenty of information on how emotions can affect decisions, there was practically no information on the decision-making process that was based on actual trades, purchases, and sales made by individuals. Dr. Mayes continues to put his knowledge of finance and his Walden education to use by consulting for nonprofits.

When asked what crossing the stage at commencement will mean to him, Dr. Mayes laughed and said, “It means that I finished what I started. I will be there celebrating with my three kids and four of my grandchildren.” He believes his love of learning and accomplishment is one that others may find inspirational, demonstrating that it is truly never too late to learn.

And his lifelong learning doesn’t end at Walden—Dr. Mayes is currently listening to Great Courses lectures on colonial history. “I am listening to recorded lectures by university history professors as I drive between my home and office so I can learn more about history. I’ve finished 12 lectures and have 24 more to go. I just want to keep learning!”