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Monday, April 15, 2024

71-year-old woman graduates US university, bags masters degree 48 years after earning bachelors

A 71-year-old woman named Beth Quay has bagged her master’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, United States 48 years after she bagged her bachelor’s degree.

Beth obtained her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1974 with plans to continue on for her master’s but she could not because things took a different turn for her.

“My mother and father always taught me I could do anything I wanted, and growing up, it was always expected I’d go to college,” she said. Beth mentioned that she had plenty of examples of women who pursued education which inspired her.

She said her father’s mother was a teacher and she also had an aunt who got a master’s in the 1950s and then went on to get her Ph.D. at 62. Beth stated that during her undergraduate degree, life in college was very different than it is today.


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She said there were only 80 women, in the whole College of Engineering, and she was the only woman in her class. ”Tech men were fantastic. Going to school in the ‘70s was a very great experience,” she said.

After college, Beth said she worked for The Coca-Company with her fellow engineers and ended up building a house 40 miles away from the university. She stated that getting to classes from work was easy, but driving home later in the evening was a challenge.

She added that her husband, Dave Quay, and brother, Wiley Hendrix, opened Atlanta Stuttgart Auto Parts where she devoted her time to helping the business grow. Beth is now a business analyst for Compass Group, noting that while working in the role, her thoughts turned back to her education.


“I wanted to refresh my skills because I have every intention to keep on working. I want to be equipped to be beneficial and fresh in my job,” she said. Beth earned her master’s degree in Analytics.

She stated that it was a different experience than her first time around as there was now distance learning which made education much more accessible.  Beth added that she found college was still a really positive experience and enjoyed how well-developed the master’s in analytics program was.

Beth said she is excited about what she can do to better herself professionally as she began to immediately use the methodologies she was learning at school in her work projects which made her company very pleased by her for pursuing her master’s.

Beth mentioned that she is looking into the possibility of getting a second master’s in a different area or even going for her Ph.D. She said that she believes age and time should not be the reasons anyone uses to not pursue more education. 



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