‘Pure Joy’: Grandma Earns College Degree At Age 84

‘Pure Joy’: Grandma Earns College Degree At Age 84

A week after her 84th birthday, Betty Sandison graduated with a bachelor’s degree more than 60 years in the making.

“Just pure joy, pure joy, pure satisfaction that I had attained my goal of walking across Northrop,” she said.

Betty Sandison
Betty Sandison / Credit: UNIV. OF MINNESOTA

On May 7, Sandison received her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS) — nearly seven decades after she started college.

Sandison started studying at the University of Minnesota 67 years ago. She had to pause her education when she got married and followed his career moves. But she never lost her desire to finish.

“I was out to lunch with friends, and we were talking about bucket lists and things we wanted to do. I said I always wanted to graduate from the U,” she said.

Betty Sandison
UNIV. OF MINNESOTA

Determined to make that happen, Sandison enrolled in classes at the university in fall 2018, where her second time around was a lot different.

The campus was larger, but her biggest obstacle was technology.

Going virtual during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 nearly kept her from her goal. She had to drop both the classes she tried to take online.

But Sandison finally got her degree.

“You need to do what you want to do or what your goals are. Don’t let anybody stop you,” she said.

“My big thing is, I would like to encourage older people to go to classes, to keep learning, and not just sit in front of the TV.”

Watch the good news video below.

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