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85 year old Grandmother gains a PhD

An 85 year old is celebrating after making a PhD her FIFTH degree- nearly four decades after she received her first.

Dr Anne Latto received her doctorate in Storytelling from the University of Reading, 36 years after she first graduated from the same university with an undergraduate degree in film and drama.

In the years since that first achievement, the grandmother of five has since gained an MA in Film and Drama, an MPhil in Film and an MA in Cognitive Evolution.

Her most recent qualification is her PhD from the university's Department pf Film, Theatre and Television, and the Australian-born octogenarian says she isn't planning anymore academic accolades.

Dr Latto, who moved to the UK aged 20, initially attended RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and can also boast a PGCE among her qualifications, which allowed her to teach drama for more than 10 years.

But when she retired she decided to embark on a journey of learning. "The reason I did five degrees is because I got bored," she said. "I love knowledge. I like to find out how human beings operate and function, and how we convey ourselves in performance.

"It sounds trite to say it passes the time but I can't bear being bored and I like finding out about things.

"When you're young you try to do a degree that's going to lead to a job or that it is going to open up the world in some way to you. I was simply interested in following my own interests."

Dr Latto  celebrated her success earlier this month with tea and caked hosted by the Department of Film, Theatre and Television before joining her family to continue the celebrations.

And the mother of two, who had five grandchildren, admitted hat while her loved ones are extremely proud of her, they're likely to have breathed a sigh of relief that this was the last. "they are just relieved that it's all over and that I have stopped complaining about it all," she added.

She also paid tribute to her PhD supervisors, who she said were: "immensely supportive and very knowledgeable."

Dr Lato now plans to continue pursuing her interests, including acting and directing in amateur dramatics. She is also a member of the Society of Storytelling and is actively involved in the University of Reading's Museum of English Rural Life as a volunteer guide.

But despite her many achievements, the 85 year old remains down to earth. "I don;t make people call me 'Doctor', or anything," she said. "I'm much prouder of my five grandchildren."

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