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Saturday, June 22, 2024

72-year-old woman graduates US university 55 years after dropping out, bags bachelors degree with honors

An exceptional 72-year-old woman named Darlene Mullins has fulfilled her lifelong dream of earning a Bachelor’s degree at Tennessee State University in Nashville, United States 55 years after she dropped out.

The 72-year-old Darlene Mullins graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Tennessee State University in Nashville, United States. 

Darlene told USA Today that she had earlier enrolled in the Tennesse State University where she was a track star but had to drop out when she met her husband in 1962. She said when she met they knew they would marry each other and began dating.

During her training for the 1964 Olympics, her track coach observed that she was devoting most of her time to her boyfriend. In response, he presented her with an ultimatum to choose between the track team and her boyfriend. Ultimately, she chose her boyfriend.

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Darlene stated that she completed her freshman year with 25 credits, dropped out, and married John in 1963. She stated her husband also graduated in 1964 and began working while she took care of the household as a stay-at-home mother to their son and daughter.

She said later on, she eventually began a career in retail and cosmetology as their children grew older. Though she had something to do, Darlene said she always longed to finish school.

She mentioned that the feeling intensified when she and her family would visit Tennessee State University for homecomings and other celebrations. “Something kept nagging at me, I always told my children to make sure they finish what they started and I kind of felt it was time to live up to my own advice,” she said. 


Darlene stated that her husband, John was very supportive when she told him she was going back to school. She said he told the university that he knew the day would come when she decided to finish her degree.

“I love this woman so much and always told her whenever you are ready we will go because this is something I knew she always wanted and I will do nothing to hold her back,” John said.

Darlene re-enrolled back in 2013 and was determined to finish no matter how long it took. She said she had to adjust to the technological advances in the classroom and took as many as 20 credit hours a semester.

During the course of her four-year stay at the university, Darlene was a member of three honor societies and was able to graduate summa cum laude with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

“I feel like God has given me a second chance,” she said. Actually, I feel like I’m in heaven looking down. Darlene stated that she hopes that her story can inspire others to pursue a degree.

“My advice about education, I try to tell the kids to try to do it the first time. But if for any reason that you don’t, just keep going back, keep going back because it’s never too late,” she said.





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