A real senior

HOUSTON In his 72 years, Larry Purswell has never before worn a cap and gown. But he is now as he prepares to graduate with a 3.7 GPA and Phi Theta Kappa honors.

"I never thought much about it until I saw it in print," he said.

He's getting all kinds of attention, like a surprise party thrown for him at school Thursday.

Before going back, Purswell hadn't been in a classroom in 47 years, 43 of those years as an operator and lab tech in refineries and chemical plants with Tenneco and Enron. Like so many, he lost all his Enron retirement in its collapse.

He went back to school five years ago because he needed a degree to teach.

"I didn't think I'd ever be a wife of a person going to college," said Larry's wife, Ellie.

Larry wanted to share his real world experience. And he doesn't just teach, but also maintains all the equipment at the college's process technology department.

"There's nothing that Larry can't do," said friend Kimberly Davis.

Larry says that's true, and not just for him, but for anyone.

"Well, it's just never too late, never too late to begin and go through and get your degree," he said.

Larry said the hardest thing for him during his collegiate career was physics.

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