80-year-old former Bastrop mayor to graduate from the University of Texas
Not many people pick up Latin at the age of 80, but a former Bastrop mayor decided he'd go back to college and learn it.
Terry Orr had already gotten his bachelors degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas A&M and a graduate degree when he decided to enroll at the University of Texas four years ago, but he wanted something more.
"We had talked about it off and on for several years," said Orr, a former three-term mayor in Bastrop. He talked about it with his wife, an accomplished scholar with a doctoral degree in medieval history from Rice University in Houston.
Orr said he was inspired to follow in her footsteps and pursue his own liberal arts degree.
"I was fortunate enough to have a couple of professors at UT invite me to just sit in on their class during the summer just to see can I even do this, just to see if I had the capability," Orr said.
During his time at UT, he studied Latin for six years, and credits it for his new perspectives in life.
"What's fun is that now we can talk to each other in a different way," said his wife, Dr. Patricia Orr.
Terry, also an army veteran, says he was ready to see the world in a different way and has a better understanding of art, literature, and various cultures.
"It's a very beautiful language and you see different ideas in Latin," Orr said.
With his wife by his side and children rooting along the way, letting them down was not an option.
"You know it doesn't bother me if professors tell you your dad's the dumbest guy that ever came here, but if they come and say he doesn't even try, I'm in for a world of trouble," Terry joked. "There were some people who were flag carriers for me at UT, and I just was not going to let them down."
On Friday, he'll walk the stage at UT -- one of his greatest achievements and something his wife, Patricia, never doubted he could achieve.
"When he went back to school, he put himself into it wholly and completely, and I can't wait to see what he does next," Patricia said.