"Time is of the essence," Allan Stewart explained when asked about completing his studies for a degree in law more than a year ahead of schedule. Normally, the course – at least at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia – takes six years. Stewart did it in 4-1/2, which earned him a standing ovation at commencement ceremonies earlier this month. Still, it wasn't until he was halfway through that he finally overcame doubts about whether this was a good idea – especially since he was barely computer-literate and much of the material had to be accessed via the Internet. But now that he has accomplished the feat, he hopes his example will help to inspire others. Nice story, right? Uh-huh. And it becomes moreso when you learn that Stewart didn't take up the challenge until after a long career in dentistry. He was led to go back to school, he told reporters, because his son had earned a degree in counseling. It's not clear whether dad will go so far as to hang out a shingle and take on clients. But then, the goal from the beginning was to find out whether he could handle such a demanding discipline at this stage of his life. He'll be 92 on his next birthday.