Simpson University graduates oldest student in 90-year history

For Immediate Release


Dale Sorling

REDDING, Calif. – More than a half-century after Dale Sorling graduated from high school, he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology through Simpson University's ASPIRE program.

The 72-year-old honor student is the oldest student to graduate in Simpson's 90-year history. He was among 133 graduates at Simpson's winter commencement on Jan. 22, including 103 from the Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program.

Despite his successful career as an engineer, a business owner, and a minister, Sorling said that earning his college degree was always a dream of his.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Carol, and raising four children--who have given him ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren--Sorling decided to take classes at Shasta College to begin his college education.

"It's been a long road," he said. "I'm not as young as I used to be. Health injuries and surgeries caused me to postpone my degree. There were some times I thought about giving up, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it."

With a 3.8 grade-point average, Sorling was eligible for Alpha Sigma Lambda, an honor society for ASPIRE students.

Sorling said he had some trepidation about returning to school later in life, but relationships with fellow classmates and professors made it easier.

Dale Sorling and his wife

"ASPIRE had great professors that inspired me, and I developed close relationships with classmates. One of them calls my wife and me 'mom and dad'."

In August, Sorling plans to begin the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at Simpson. He plans to become a psychologist to troubled youth.

"I am 72 but I still have potential and I'd like to utilize that to help someone else," said Sorling.

When asked what he would tell others who are on the fence about earning their college degree, Sorling said, "There's no excuse not to do it. Financial aid is available, and it's worth it. Education is something that can never be taken away from you."

Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential programs. Simpson's academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson's recent curriculum expansion includes degrees in biology, nursing, outdoor leadership, and a master's degree in counseling psychology. For more information about the university, or to arrange a personalized visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737