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75-Year-Old Woman Who Returned To College 57 Years After Leaving Is Now Graduating From Shaw University

75-Year-Old Woman Who Returned To College 57 Years After Leaving Is Now Graduating From Shaw University

She’s finishing what she started!

A 75-year-old woman who decided to return to college 57 years later is finally set to graduate, WRAL news reports.  

Rebecca Inge had big dreams when she first left her home in Sanford, Florida to pursue a degree at Raleigh, North Carolina’s Shaw University. 

“I always dreamed of going to med school because I was sick a lot as a child. I dreamed of being a surgeon,” Inge recalled. 

She even took a job in her college’s cafeteria to help pay for school, also exploring the idea of becoming an engineer. But like most people, life happened. And after Inge married and gave birth to her daughter, she put her personal plans for a degree at Shaw on hold, taking up other careers working for NASA during its first space shuttle mission and at Disney World as a safety instructor. 

“She put her life on hold so that I could finish my 21 years, all of my education, so that I could be successful today,” said her daughter, Marisa Ratliff Dunston.

Dunston honors her mom for her sacrifice, realizing her dreams couldn’t have happened without it. Dunston has now retired from a long career serving in the U.S military, having been stationed in both Germany and Japan. After the passing of Inge’s husband in 2015, her mom joined her abroad, waking up one day to decide she would finally return to the states and finish what she started at Shaw. 

Inge said initially people were surprised, starting with the staff at the enrollment office. 

“The lady looked at me and she said, ‘I don’t know if we got your records.’ And I said, ‘Then find them!,” said Inge.

Photo Courtesy of WRAL News

The journey was not without its fair share of challenges, many things changing at Shaw, mainly computers and email. For those things that were a bit more difficult, Dunston was right there to help her mom along the way. Now the 75-year-old is gearing up for her graduation, reflecting on her nearly six decade journey to this degree, recently picking up a sequined shirt with a large “65” under it from the Shaw bookstore to wear to the festivities. 

“That ‘65’ is the year that I first came to Shaw…The [store] manager was excited. I said, ‘This was my year. It’s the year I first came to Shaw,” said Inge. 

Ms. Rebecca Inge will graduate from Shaw University on May 8th. We couldn’t be more happy for her. Congratulations. Ms. Inge! 

Photo Courtesy of WRAL News