Horace Sheffield of Barnesville, Georgia always wanted to earn his college degree.
On May 5th, the dream of the 88 year old retired pastor came true when he walked across the stage as a member of Shorter University’s class of 2017.
A Facebook photo shows Sheffield, donned in his cap and gown, holding a sign that reads, “With God all things are possible – Matthew 19:26.”
Sheffield first enrolled in Shorter University in 1961 but quit to help his kids who had just enrolled in college.
“I didn’t care about having a diploma back then, but I’m getting my degree this time,” the former pastor said.
The former pastor received his Bachelor of Science degree in Christian studies as the first graduate of an online program at the school.
According to the Baptist Press, neighbor Amanda Brannock helped him type his papers and enter online assignments after he wrote them in longhand.
“I saw him write until his hands couldn’t write anymore,” Brannock said, “and I’ve seen him focus so hard to the point where his vision wasn’t normal,” Brannock said.
“When he approached me about going back to college, he said it was the only thing in life he had never finished, and he did not want to meet the Lord without that degree. He said he knew nothing about computers let alone own one,” explained Brannock.
The special bond between the two neighbors was more than academics.
Sheffield, who retired after 71 years in ministry, was instrumental in leading Brannock’s family to the Lord.
“…Horace was one of the first people I met here. He came to my home to talk to my family about accepting the Lord and becoming members of the church. It’s because of Horace I was able to see my husband and my son baptized, she told the Baptist Press.
Both are grateful for the partnership.
“So I said, ‘Pop, I’ve got a computer and a printer, and I’ll get you internet.’ He gave me the gift of God in my husband and son; I could do no less than help him get an education. We are so proud of him.”
During the graduation ceremony Brannock walked across the stage with Sheffield.
“We went in as a team, and we wanted to come out as a team,” she said.
“If I can do it at 88, anybody else can do it,” Sheffield says.