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92-year-old set to graduate from Texas A&M University after 70 years

Dr. Joe H. Knowles, a Bryan native, will receive a degree in Biology he first began seven decades ago.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Dr. Joe Knowles has lived in many places, but, in 2017, he and his wife decided to come back home. They wanted to be closer to Dr. Knowles’ mother, who still lived in Bryan.

“She died about a month before we got back,” Dr. Knowles said. “We buried her on the fourth of March and she would’ve been 109 on the fourth of March.”

Dr. Knowles said he’s felt comfortable everywhere he’s lived, but it’s the people in Bryan that make him stay; the people and a few other factors.

“I came down here primarily to be closer to A&M, to be closer to our daughter and for somebody to be able to take care of us whenever I get old,” Dr. Knowles said with a grin.

When they were settled in Aggieland, their new neighbor, Sharon Clements, found out that after 70 years, Dr. Knowles never got a diploma from Texas A&M. She became determined to change that.

“My mind started reeling and I said, 'you know what, we just got to make this happen',” Clements said.

This was no easy trek. There was a period where they didn’t hear any updates for four months, but they said they determined if it’s meant to be, it will be.

“We got the notification about two weeks ago that he could graduate in August,” Clements said.

Clements said it was easy to embark on this journey because Dr. Knowles is an amazing person and she loves him and his wife.

“They are the best neighbors ever and I know he’s an Aggie through and through,” Clements said. “Every Aggie game day you’ll see an A&M flag flying in the front of his house and I know what it means to him and I just wanted to make it happen.”

Knowing that Dr. Knowles will walk across the Aggie stage, she said she is bursting with pride for him.

“I can tell you my heart is just full and I’m so happy for him."

Dr. Knowles will walk the stage and receive a biology degree on August 13.