The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE student earning degree later in life

Gene Burks is a 67-year-old first-time college student who attends SE Campus and also runs his own business. Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Gene Burks is a 67-year-old first-time college student who attends SE Campus and also runs his own business. Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

Having a successful business didn’t stop one student from starting to pursue a college degree a few years shy of his 70th birthday.

Gene Burks, a 67-year-old first-time college student, enrolled on SE Campus in December.

“I promised my granddaughter if she could do it twice before she was 26, I would do it once before I turn 70,” he said about his granddaughter who has a master’s degree in education.

Burks runs DFW Financial Service, which provides life insurance and consultations for taxes and savings.

“In high school, I was a C and F student,” he said.

Of 153 students, Burks said he was No. 103. He never thought he would attend college. Instead, he became an entrepreneur.

Although Burks started college to get a business degree, he has found a new talent and love for writing. He credits English associate professor J.T. Martin with encouraging him to continue to write. Burks said he has received A’s on all of his English papers and has a 4.0 GPA. His latest paper was on a retired Mesquite detective.

“I was supposed to write a three-to-five-page essay, but it ended up being 10 pages,” he said.

Burks said he doesn’t expect monetary gain from having a college degree.

“It’s just knowing that I have that piece of paper!” he said.

Burks also credited his younger classmates with having an impact on him.

“They have been so respectful and motivated that they have motivated me,” he said.

— Natalie Carter

 
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