We sometimes hear about those who enter college later in life, but I think Joan Donovan has most of them beat. Not only is she an 89-year-old great-grandmother, she also is the proud recipient of a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
According to an SNHU press release, Donovan has the distinction of being the oldest graduate in 2022 from that university. Although she wasn’t able to attend the graduation in person, she did accept the diploma at her home in Florida and was wearing her cap and gown at the time.
Of course, her family was there by her side as the diploma was handed to her.
In speaking with the university, Donovan expressed how thrilled, honored, and overwhelmed she was.
When the University shared the news of the celebration on Facebook, they spoke about how Donovan was unable to attend the full commencement. They said: “so SNHU brought the celebrations to her home in Florida with a surprise diploma delivery.”
In the press release, Donovan spoke to the university, saying that her mother used to call her brilliant when she was young. She got an early start on first grade at the age of four and was only 16 when she graduated high school.
She wasn’t able to go to college when she was younger because her family couldn’t afford to send her. She did take some free post-graduate classes at her high school but she had always wanted to get a formal education.
Her life continued to delay her from following her dream, be it by marriage, raising children, or just being busy in general. Calling herself a goal-seeker, she said that going to college was a goal and she reached it. She referred to it as a dream come true.
Donovan was able to go to a community college to earn her associate degree after her children were grown. She wanted to take her education further, so she completed her bachelor’s degree when she was 84 years old.
Not one to give up, Donovan said that she wanted to take part in the online program offered by the University. Her granddaughter had attended the university in person, and she realized it was exactly what she needed.
So, what’s next for Donovan? She plans on writing an autobiography. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Check out the video below: