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90-year-old woman makes history at Texas University after putting her education on hold for decades

A lot of people like Payne don't have access to a better life or education while growing up, but many like her do everything in their power to move ahead through hard work.

90-year-old woman makes history at Texas University after putting her education on hold for decades
Cover Image Source: YouTube | NewsNation

Someone very wise once said that there is no wrong time to learn. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing someone strive to study and learn new things years after they were last at school. A woman is now getting a lot of attention and praise for graduating from Texas University and for good reason.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

Minnie Payne, a 90-year-old woman, decided to get her Master's degree 73 years after graduating high school and her journey is inspiring. Payne, who had graduated out of high school in 1950 from College Station in Texas, realized that she wasn't ready to give up on her academic career just yet. So, she went to Texas University to complete her Master's degree in interdisciplinary studies. This made her the oldest graduate who has completed their schoolwork and earned a degree at the university at any level. On this note, the school clarified to ABC News that they were aware of one person who had received a degree at an older age. However, that person had completed their coursework at a younger age.


Payne wasn't born into a family of intellectuals. She grew up quite poor in the South Carolina textile community. Despite her humble beginnings, she said, "I have always tried to better myself." Talking about the importance of education and how it helps us, she added, "When you gain an education, you better yourself and you better those around you. And, of course, you gain knowledge. And I know a lot more now than I did to begin with." She is undoubtedly a dedicated student and one of those people who aims to be a lifelong learner. Her curiosity and thirst for knowledge, coupled with her discipline and dedication, are quite impressive.

Talking about her studies, she gave credit to Billy Roessler, who was her academic adviser, as well as some other professors. According to the academic advisor, Roessler, "Minnie was very dedicated to her work." Roessler is an assistant dean of graduate studies at the university's Toulouse Graduate School. He said, "She was committed throughout the program to getting the education, knowledge and skills that she desired." According to Payne, her education was not an important part of her childhood, considering the poverty and illiteracy she was born into. Since her parents didn't exactly understand the importance of education, there was nobody there to push her in that direction. She said, "I lived in a very small world. We were poor, but we didn't realize we were poor because everybody else was in the same boat."


After graduating from high school in 1950, she worked many odd as well as proper jobs here and there, including as a court reporter, a transcriptionist and a substitute teacher. After years of retirement and decades of not setting foot in any school, she decided to get her undergraduate degree from Texas Woman's College when she was 73 years old. She added, "When I earned my undergraduate, I immediately started to work as a writer and for about 16 years between my undergraduate and master's program, I wrote and copy-edited. I was not idle." Her story is inspiring for all those who think it's maybe too late for them to start. This story is proof of the fact that it's never too late to learn.

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