Woman Graduates 75 Years After Finishing College

Unpaid $5 fee had kept her from receiving diploma
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2014 11:48 AM CDT
Woman Graduates 75 Years After Finishing College

Among this month's graduates: Jessie Jones-White, Class of 1939. Jones-White, 99, was set to graduate from Beal College in Bangor, Maine, 75 years ago, but she didn't receive her degree thanks to an unpaid $5 transcript fee, ABC News reports. She recently told a friend the story; that friend contacted Allen Stehle, the college's president. Stehle paid Jones-White's balance and arranged for a personal graduation ceremony Friday at which she finally got her diploma—cap, gown, and all, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Jones-White received her degree in stenography and bookkeeping at the ceremony, and says, "It was wonderful. I had a lot of fun. I didn’t think my life was complete without it." Her lack of a diploma didn't keep her from working as a bookkeeper for many years, ABC notes. Stehle says he was excited to host the ceremony for Jones-White because of what it says to current students: "Knowing she waited 75 years sends a strong message to people to rededicate themselves [to their education] and think along the same lines," he says. (Read more college graduates stories.)

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