96-Year-Old Woman Earns Her College Degree

96-Year-Old Violet Edwards never gave up on her dreams, and this year, she finally attained her college degree.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Violet Edwards

Learning has no age restriction. And Violet Edwards, a Parkland, Florida resident just proved that sentiment. The 96-year-old Jamaican descendent has lived a full life. She raised children and grandchildren, worked a meaningful career, and now can finally boast of earning her college degree. Edwards just received her diploma, making her the fifth oldest person to do so, all while confirming that success has no age limit.

In an interview with Fox News, Violet Edwards shared an important message that she urges others to stand by. “It’s never too late,” the grandmother affirmed. Edwards earned her Associate’s Degree in liberal arts from Mercy College in New York this past June. What’s more, she showed that even the oldest living generation can adapt to modern-day technology, as she finished her degree by taking entirely online classes directly from her apartment in a retirement home in Florida. 

Always aspiring to earn a college degree, Edwards grew up during a time when college was more catered toward men. When Violet Edwards would have been a high school graduate, nearly eight decades ago, the movement for women to attain a higher degree of education was just beginning to be pushed. The 96-year-old did finally pursue her dream and attended college classes at New Rochelle in New York during the 1980s. However, her journey was put on hold.

Violet Edwards halted her aspirations to put the needs of her family first. She left college on the back burner so that she could help her daughter pay for medical school. After that, she continued to aid her by working at her daughter’s medical practice and by helping to take care of her grandchildren. But even with decades long passed since she last sat in a classroom, Edwards never lost her desire to become a college graduate. 

When making the decision to go back to school in her ripe 90s, she learned that the college she attended nearly 30 years ago had since closed. Not giving up, she learned that she could transfer her credits to Mercy College in New York City. In just a little over a year, Violet Edwards completed the needed coursework to achieve her associated degree. She did so with flying colors and graduated with an impressive 4.0 grade point average. 

Violet Edwards can now celebrate being one of the oldest living individuals to attain a college degree. What’s more, she is officially the oldest Black person to do so. The fact that the majority of colleges banned Blacks from attending institutes of higher education back when Edwards would have been a college-aged student makes this feat even more impressive. She was just a few years short of breaking the world record, which is currently held by Bryan Lowe, who attained his college degree at the age of 102.

Violet Edwards

The 96-year-old Florida resident can now look back on her long, lucrative life with a sense of fulfillment. Violet Edwards has persevered through a plethora of struggles that Blacks and women, in general, have faced through her nearly 10 decades of life. Doing what many would consider impossible, Violet proves that education has no boundaries.