School of Engineering PEOPLE

Meet Our Students | At 43, Age Is No Barrier to Higher Education

07, 2022

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Westlake University just welcomed our sixth cohort of doctoral students to our growing community. This group of talented individuals is our most diverse yet, and age has proven to be no barrier to entry.

During the opening ceremony for these new doctoral students, Guangsheng Bao was surrounded by the media. He answered every question with a smile, and his videos were posted online.

In the comments section, some said he looked about 30, and others speculated that he was probably financially free. Some were surprised to learn that he was actually in his 40s, but others in his age cohort commented that they too were studying for a Ph.D. in their 40s.

A small-town youth who graduated from a technical secondary school, Bao was a self-taught undergraduate who was later admitted to the postgraduate program at the University of Science and Technology of China. After graduation, he entered Microsoft and then Alibaba. After working for many years, he decided to return to university to study artificial intelligence at the “ripe old age” of 43.

Bao said that society tends to apply labels to people, “They say, it becomes harder and harder to pursue your own ideas. Why do we always like to label people? Age, gender, background?" He explained that he often jokes with his 5-year-old daughter that she should come to class with him.

Westlake University is proud to support a diverse and international community of talented people from all walks of life, and we are thrilled that individuals like Bao are part of it. Only the soft lines on his face from half a lifetime of smiling signalled the maturity of his years. His remaining spirit and form were those of an ambitious and youthful soul.