Jason Frangoulis

Student spotlight details

Jason Frangoulis, 98, is the Department’s oldest student, and a quintessential lifelong learner. His life story is interwoven with his love for learning. He pursued night classes throughout his busy working career, and completed his BA through the Open University. He turned to our online short courses in January 2019.

‘I was born in Port Said, Egypt – an international shipping centre situated at the Northern Entrance to the Suez Canal (originally a Roman Empire Pelusium). The Canal was officially opened in November 1869. My father Dr. C Frangoulis was the first head of Quarantine Services, which is a compulsory requirement for ships entering the canal (i.e. obtaining a clean Bill of Health).

'My entry to Athens Medical School in 1940 was frustrated by the German occupation of Greece. Elements of Greek Military Units, especially Navy, escaped to Egypt. Being a Greek citizen, I was called up to join the Greek Navy, which was eventually attached to the Allied Forces.

'After the war, I emigrated to Australia to take advantage of employment and education opportunities. I was employed by the insurance company General Accident whose headquarters were based in Scotland. I attended classes for a BA degree (principally English, Economics, Egyptology and Philosophy) at Sydney University (night classes). In 1963 I was transferred to the UK and was based in London.

'Despite my heavy burden of work in the city, my love for studies continued and in 1988 I completed my degree at the Open University.’

Jason returned to education, pursuing studies in philosophy and history for many years as an external student at the University of London. He discovered our online short courses in January 2019, at the age of 97. Since then he has completed ‘The Fall of Rome’, ‘Philosophy of Mind’, ‘Minoans and Mycenaeans’, and ‘Greek Mythology’. He will start his next course, ‘Reality, Being and Existence: An Introduction to Metaphysics’, in September 2020.

Jason says, ‘I continued my lifelong education online because of age and personal circumstances. I found that Oxford's online courses opened the way to advanced levels. Fortunately, my granddaughter, as a Durham graduate and IT guru, was of immense help.’

Jason’s personal philosophy? ‘I simply plan my life on the principle ‘keep learning and die later… if you can!’