- A lifetime separates two special University of Houston engineering students who are graduating this spring.
David Levy is receiving two bachelor's degrees, one in mechanical engineering and the other in mathematics. George Hall, meanwhile, is getting his master's degree in industrial engineering.
Levy is heading to graduate engineering school this fall at another Texas university where he will study control systems. His mother will move with him because, well, he's still a minor.
Hall plans to retire from academics and stay retired from work and enjoy life with his wife, Myrajane, whom he took to a UH Cougars basketball game on their first date - back in 1974.
Yes, that's right. Levy is 16 and Hall is 86, a 70-year age difference. The two extraordinary UH graduates credit hard work, family support and UH for their success and both plan to attend graduation ceremonies for the UH Cullen College of Engineering this Friday (May 13.)
"I have to study hard to be here at UH," Levy said.
"Anyone can do it really, if you put enough work into it," Levy said. "I don't have any special humongous brain or anything like that.
"My dad started working with me on math at an early age," he explained. "And, I helped dad work on cars when I was young, so that sparked my interest in mechanical engineering."
Hall already has received two degrees from UH, a bachelor's of science in math in 1959 and a bachelor's of science in industrial engineering in 1977. He also earned a master's of science safety from the University of Southern California in 1988.
This is the end of his academic pursuits, he said. Hall went back to school at age 84 to earn a Ph.D. but settled on a master's degree.
"I thought, I've got to get out of here before I'm 100," Hall said.
It seems college has been a big part of Hall's entire adult life as he often found the time to work and go to school. He spent much of his career working for NASA contractors.
"I don't know exactly why I came back to college at 84. I've had a close association with UH for a long time and well, it seemed like a good idea at the time," said Hall, who lives with his wife in Clear Lake. "I don't like to admit it but I'm sure there's a lot of ego attached to it as well."
"I tell people it's never too late to learn, but I recommend not waiting until you're 84," he said.
Levy, who also lives in Clear Lake with his parents, was 13 when he enrolled at UH after attending a community college. His mother used to drive him to class at UH but he recently got his own car.
He's not sure if all of his fellow students, or his professors for that matter, know his age. One student told him that when the student informed their professor about Levy's age, he was shocked.
"Nobody treats me special," he said. "I love the (UH) campus. The students are really nice. I love the environment here. It's been very welcoming."
At age 16, Levy doesn't necessarily look that different from many of the other youths on the UH campus. But Hall, with his white hair and beard, does stand out a bit.
"What's it like being older than your professor's parents?" he joked when asked to describe college life at his age. "Everyone is nice to me. Young ladies open doors for me. One even held my books for me."
Hall also is a devoted alumnus.
A lifetime member of the UH Alumni Association, Hall and his wife have endowed several scholarships at various schools at UH. He also drives a red SUV with a personalized plate that reads "SR Coog," and he and his wife are avid Cougar football and basketball fans.
"This campus is so beautiful. We've met so many good people. We just like it here," he said. "It really boils down to family, church and UH for us."