90-year-old graduates university 71 years after starting


Published: 2022-12-11 15:41

Last Updated: 2024-04-19 19:48

90-year-old graduates university 71 years after starting
90-year-old graduates university 71 years after starting

A 90-year-old woman in the United States will graduate from university 71 years after her first enrollment.

The woman, Joyce DeFauw, started her freshman year at Northern Illinois University in 1951 and had planned to graduate with a degree in home economics.

However, that plan was cut short when she met a man she later married and decided to leave university for him.

“I went to school for three and a half years, but decided to leave after I met him.” DeFauw told CNN.

She and Don Freeman Sr. got married in 1955, and had three children together before he passed away, leaving her widowed for about five years before she remarried to her late second husband, Roy DeFauw who had six children with her. She now has 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

DeFauw showed interest in returning to university in 2019 when she voiced her regret of having left education before getting a degree.

“I guess I mentioned I was upset that I didn’t finish school and my children encouraged me to go back,” she said, so she enrolled back at her old university and started taking classes.

She attended online classes from her retirement home. “It was my first computer,” DeFauw noted, “My children had to teach me how to use it.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic began, frustration would creep up on her quite a lot and she said that “at times [she] wanted to quit, but [she] didn’t.”

Jenna Dooley, one of DeFauw’s grandchildren, told CNN that “at times she’d get frustrated, but I kept reminding her that this was all a part of the process.”

Now, she will graduate with a Bachelor of General Studies degree after three years of online classes. She expressed how thankful she is of having had the opportunity to finish her education.

Lastly, she gave advice for anyone who might be in a similar situation saying, “Don’t give up,” she said, “I know it can be difficult, but everything in life has its ups and downs.”