Explore Article Categories


Never too late: 88-year-old pursues his doctorate

March 15, 2023

When Duane Seitz first went to school, there was no Canvas, discussion boards, or threads. In fact, there weren’t even computers — just good, old-fashioned books and pencils. 

But Seitz, who is currently 88, didn’t let the new ways of online education stop him from pursuing a doctorate in ministry with a degree in ministry leadership.

“I guess I am a lifelong learner,” Seitz said. “I believe that God has given each of us a wonderful mind and expects us to be good stewards of that special gift.” 

Seitz began his online classes at the start of the spring semester from his home in Marion, Ind.

“Admittedly, going back to school is a challenge,” he said. “Both of my master’s degrees were done in a classroom setting. The online experience has been a great learning curve for me and has consumed more of my time than the class assignments.”

At first, he struggled with learning the new language of college classes. 

“I thought a ‘dashboard’ was something in the front of my first Model A Ford, a ‘thread’ was something my dear wife uses when she sews, and ‘canvas’ was something I use to cover things to keep them from getting wet,” he said. “My granddaughter said, ‘Oh, Grandpa, we learned all that in middle school.’ But there was no middle school when I went to school, and there certainly were no computers. But I am learning. God is continuing to supply my needs.”

Seitz began his ministry journey when he was 27. At a revival service, he felt God calling him to the ministry. At the time, he and his wife (now married for 68 years) had been living on a farm and raising three children.

“We were blessed with a very prosperous farming operation — land, livestock, and farming equipment,” Seitz said. “This required considerable financial capital, and we were in what was called a production loan. To break that loan prematurely meant that we would be in trouble financially. Believing that God was leading, we left the farm, and I started back to school with no money, only a promise from the Lord, Philippians 4:19: ‘But, my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’”

Seitz has been serving the Kingdom of God for more than 50 years, pastoring both small and large churches. His commitment to advancing the Kingdom is what led him to furthering his education. 

“I am grateful to have the honor of attending the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity. The people with whom I worked in the enrollment process have been so helpful,” he said. “The entire atmosphere of Liberty University and the School of Divinity has been one of positive, godly, and Christ-exalting emphasis. I, too, want to be a Champion for Christ and hear His words, ‘Well done faithful servant.’”

Along with his doctoral studies, Seitz is pastoring a “restart renewal church.” 

“The church is small; the majority of the congregation are seniors (and) money is short. I receive $125 a week with no benefits,” he said. “It is no longer ministering to the entire family. I am excited and praying that, as I move through the doctoral program, I will be able to gain new insights and methodology for seeing the church turn around and come alive.”  

This article was first published in the Liberty Champion student newspaper, now in its 40th year of publication. Read more exciting stories by students at Liberty.edu/Champion.

Get the e-magazine straight to your inbox!

It only takes a click to unsubscribe.