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Thursday, July 18, 2024

105-year-old woman finally bags masters degree at US university 83 years after she was initially admitted, fulfills lifelong dream

105-year-old, Virginia Hislop finally bagged a master’s degree at Stanford University in the United States 83 years after she initially enrolled for the degree.

Virginia devoted most of her life to education and has served on school and college boards in central Washington, where she lives but despite her success, she always felt something was missing.

She told CBS News that while working in an education career, she always felt the need for an advanced degree, just like her colleagues. Virginia added that despite having lived a rich life with two children, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, she still felt that something was missing.

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“From time to time, I wished I had finished and gotten my master’s (degree). Part of it was the fact that I’ve been a college director for a good number of years and I didn’t have the advanced degree that some of the other ones did,” she said.

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Virginia had completed the necessary coursework for the master’s degree at Stanford University, but before she could submit her thesis, the United States plunged into World War II in 1941.

Choosing to stand by her college partner, she married him before he was deployed in the Army. During the war, she actively contributed to the war effort,  shifted her focus to her growing family, putting an end to her academic plans and not completing her thesis.

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The dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Daniel Schwartz stated that since there is no more thesis requirement for a master’s degree at the university, they decided to honor Virginia with a Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Education 83 years later.


“Fast-forward 83 years, we don’t have a thesis requirement anymore so she’s actually satisfied the requirements for Master of Arts in the Graduate School of Education. So, 83 years later, we’re honoring this woman who has done so much,” she said.

Virginia’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Jensen expressed deep gratitude for her grandmother, who had always believed in and supported her family. She said she feels privileged to support her grandmother in return. 

“So much gratitude. She’s believed in all of us and cheered us on all the way through and we get to cheer her on now. It’s pretty cool. I feel like this is the crowning glory of her amazing career. This is her lifetime achievement award,” Elizabeth said.

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Talking about her achievements, Virginia advised people that it is never too late to get a college degree. She stated that the degree is adding to one of her accomplishments.

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