Age indeed is just a number when it comes to wanting to study and gain knowledge and this 90-year-old is living proof of it.
The only thing crucial to learning is the willingness and hunger to learn. While many people live their lives by the age they are, some exceptions live life their way and treat age the way it is supposed to be treated, as nothing more than a number. Minnie Payne, a 90-year-old from Texas, recently became the oldest person to have a Master's Degree. Payne had graduated high school back in 1950. However, when she turned 90, she realized she still had some unfulfilled academic wishes. per ABC News.
Payne had graduated high school back in 1950. However, when she turned 90, she realized she still had some unfulfilled academic wishes. So, like every person with a dream to do something and hunger to learn, she embarked on her journey to do her Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of North Texas. In December 2023, she finally graduated and walked the stage with her grandson to receive her degree. According to the university, Payne was the oldest person to finish her coursework at her age to earn the degree.
90-year-old woman becomes oldest person to earn master’s degree at university— WAVE (@wave3news) December 17, 2023
When the channel reached out to her about how she felt about this and how she made it happen, she said that she always believed in bettering herself no matter what. Since she knew that bettering oneself comes via studying and education, she was aware of the direction she wanted to move in. The last thing she mentioned was that she knew full well that doing this degree would involve a lot of effort. "I knew that it took effort. I patiently worked to the end," she said. Even the faculty from her University said, "She was very dedicated to her work. She asked questions when she had questions. She did not cut any corners." While it may seem like she could go faster at times, she was undoubtedly committed to the program and getting the education, knowledge and skills she deserved.
On the University of North Texas website, on the page about recent graduates, Payne's paragraph shines bright. Payne says she was elated and humbled to have completed her degree online and how she took it one day at a time. "I had always worked with words and I had always liked to write, so I almost immediately went back to school. I wanted to improve myself," she said. While she got her Master's at 90 years old, she was only 73 years old when she got her Bachelor's degree in General Studies. Payne's advisor at UNT was Dr. Billy Roessler, who said, "We use the term 'lifelong learner,' but Minnie truly exhibits this" and truer words have never been spoken. He further added, "Minnie was meticulous in the selection of courses. She had specific traits sought in each class. She could have finished a little sooner, but she stayed the course to get the most out of her education."
Payne said, "I knew that I was bettering myself and my family and I was doing something I enjoyed and something constructive. I was improving my life. Every day, I try to do something to improve my life and those around me." In fact, despite doing so much and being such an inspiration for so many people, she said this isn't the end of the academic road for her. "In some way or another, I want to continue learning," she asserted. One can only hope and wish to have the dedication, determination and discipline which Payne so gracefully exhibits.