After recently receiving a law degree at the age of 71, John VanBuskirk recalled the reaction of some of his fellow students to his name coming up in a discussion about whom had passed the Texas bar exam last month.

“Two of my classmates were talking, one said, ‘Did you hear that John VanBuskirk passed?’ And the other classmate said, ‘That’s too bad, I really liked that guy,’” he said. “By ‘passed,’ he thought I had died.”