81-year-old man gets engineering graduate degree from FGCU - 96.9 WINK FM

81-year-old man gets engineering graduate degree from FGCU


A soon-to-be Florida Gulf Coast University graduate is taking the life-long learner title to a whole new level.

Patience is said to be a virtue. For Andy Ask, Saturday will be a celebration 81 years in the making.

Ask isn’t done asking questions and continuing his education.

But he got his first degree in engineering almost 60 years ago from Iowa State University, so this isn’t exactly his first graduation or second graduation.

“I felt the need for more education. So a couple years later, I went to law school, loved Law School, found out I had no interest in being a lawyer,” Ask said.

Andy Ask at FGCU in his graduate gown. CREDIT: WINK News

Ask is bar certified in the state of Ohio, then, in 2004, as a professional engineer, he wrote the textbook on HVAC systems.

“I simply started writing down everything I knew about air conditioning that I thought somebody else might want to know. And it’s 424 pages I wrote off the top of my head,” Ask said.

“HVAC was fairly new when I started. I mean, it was like 50 years old. Now it’s 100 years old,” Ask said.

Ask is a well-known expert in the field, and on Saturday, he will become a “Master of Engineering,” but why get another degree?

“Well, my most honest answer is I don’t know. I believe that we need to get better. No matter what it is,” Ask said. “You just need to continually continue to get better.”

Ask told WINK News the hardest part of achieving something great is that first step, perceiving you can do something.

“A lot of people simply can’t. It can’t occur to them that it’s possible to do something. I do the same thing on the construction. I say we’re gonna run the duct over there. You can’t do that. Well, yeah, you can. I just did,” Ask said.

It’s more than the mansions he works on; for Ask, his impact is felt at FGCU’s Whitacker college of engineering.

FGCU graduate gown. CREDIT: WINK News

If you doubt this, Tom Missimer is a professor in the college of engineering at FGCU and shared some thoughts with WINK News.

“He (Ask) knows what kinds of questions to ask, and he can actually get the best out of the instructors, more than you know, a younger person coming through the system that doesn’t have that level of experience,” Missimer said. “And Andy was, was relied upon by a lot of the other students for his advice.”

But, Ask believes it is a mutual experience.

“The other students were very helpful. I’d be looking at the computer, I had kind of a blank look on my face with computers. And just out of nowhere, a hand would come over and say, touch that icon,” Ask said.

Maybe a gap year or possibly updating his book is next on Ask’s to-do list.

He’s even considering the idea of getting his doctorate degree.


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