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Woman graduates from college the day after her 82nd birthday

Beale works in the event management industry, is an activist and has been working for the betterment of society for nearly 50 years.

Woman graduates from college the day after her 82nd birthday
Image source: Screenshot/ ABC News | WJLA

It's never too late to get a degree, as 82-year-old retiree Mae Beale has proved. Beale earned her Business Management degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) on May 18, a day after her 82nd birthday, reported WJLA. Beale previously worked as a licensed practical nurse in Washington, D.C., before shifting careers to event management. She is also an activist and has been working for the betterment of society for nearly 50 years. Beale always understood the value of education and the self-confidence it instills in a person. "I knew that if I had the degree, it would solidify things and make me feel more comfortable," she said. She encourages others to pursue higher education and seek more exposure. "Expose yourself to as many possibilities as you can because you never know what life will present," she said. She wanted to commit to earning her degree only after finding the time for it. "I wanted to make certain I had the time to devote to whichever class I was taking," she said.


"I was like the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race. I discovered that I had to be intentional about it and make it my priority," she said. She was the oldest in her class but was a star student. She graduated with honors and made the dean's list several times during her time at UMGC. Beale completed her coursework in the class of 2020 but the school didn't hold an in-person graduation ceremony during the pandemic. Beale was one among 3,300 graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 who recently received their diplomas. 



While at UMGC, she also served on the UMGC Student Advisory Council. After finishing her coursework, she continued as an ex-officio member until her term ended in December 2020. In January 2021, Beale was honored as volunteer of the month. Well into her retirement as a licensed practical nurse, and now as a community advocate with her Bachelor of Business Management in hand, Beale has joined local boards, including Howard County, Maryland Tourism and Promotion, the Restaurant Association, the Festival of the Arts and the Columbia Bright Minds Association.  

College Graduates Throwing Caps - stock photo/Getty Images


Her service to society was recognized when she was inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame in March 2016. Months later, she received the Associated Black Charities’ 2016 Women on the Move Award. She was also a volunteer in Howard County for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, reported Kiro7. While she was working with the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as a nurse, she helped organize several large events and that was when she decided to change careers. “My supervisors thought I had something special,” Beale told WJLA. “When I was working at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, I organized some large events and everybody was impressed with it, so I started coordinating their IT information conferences.” Beale started her own event-planning business in 1994 at the age of 54 and decided to get an associate degree in Business Management at Howard Community College, reported CNN. After completing the associate degree program, she set her sights on earning a bachelor's degree. Beale wants to inspire others to chase their dreams as well. “You don’t ever, ever let people deter you, because people always want to tell you what to do, how to do, when to do,” Beale told WRC.


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