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hurl thomas

ATLANTA — Hurl Taylor demonstrated unequivocally that it is never too late to get your college degree. Or maybe two of them. Or three. Or …

Well, actually, Taylor, who is now 77 years old, has just been awarded his eighth degree – count them, eight degrees – the latest coming from the Emory University Candler School of Theology with a master of Religion in Public Life.

This is Taylor’s second degree from Emory. Taylor earned his first Emory degree, from the law, in 1985 at the age of 47.

“I’m really excited because I think sometimes, senior citizens kind of pine away,” said Taylor, who still practices law, as he spoke with WSBTV. “They don’t do a lot. Going back to school, for me, keeps the old mind very active and I like academics.”

This latest degree will be used to support his prison ministry, Taylor told Emory University News Center. He first experienced prison ministry in Heidelberg, Germany at the end of a 20-year career in the Army, the publication states.

After graduation, Taylor said he plans to take a pilgrimage back to Germany for three weeks with other Emory-Candler students and faculty members as part of a conference to study contemporary religion in Germany ahead of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

According to the news station, Taylor and his contemporaries will meet with Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders and will also engage issues around the religious response to the refugee crisis.

You may recall Taylor’s name. He was one of the lead defense attorneys during the infamous Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal and trial. When the trial concluded, most of his contemporaries thought Taylor would take a reprieve from his practice and work. Instead, Taylor decided to return to school for his most recent degree in religion.

The Richmond, Va., native earned his first degree in biology from Hampton University in 1960. Ironically at that time, Taylor’s aspired to teach biology to high school students.

Obviously, seven degrees later, his plans have have changed radically.


Photos: Emory University

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