Amy Craton is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and, now, a top graduate of a university at 94 years old.
After taking online classes for two and a half years, the Hawaiian native received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English in a surprise awarding by officials from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
She dropped out of college in 1962 to raise her four children, shortly after her husband divorced her. Decades after, Craton never thought she could still claim her much-awaited diploma. In 2013, she enrolled in online classes in SNHU and managed to score a perfect 4.0 GPA (grade point average) for all her subjects.
“I said, ‘I can’t do it. I can’t go to school again,’” Craton told local news site WMUR. “I couldn’t see just sitting there, watching Netflix all the time…You have to live, you have to learn, as long as you can.”
SMHU officials personally flew to Honolulu to meet Craton, who strolls in a wheelchair and has hearing impairments, to bestow her diploma. “Though I do hear, it was difficult making out what the professor was saying, but then I found out about online classes,” she elaborated to People. “It was definitely for me.”
School president Paul LeBlanc was also stunned with Craton’s determination to finish her studies despite her age. “I think we were all a little surprised,” he said. “For someone to go back to school in their 90s and handle new technology, [that can] be a little surprising, but given what we understand about Amy, it’s probably not a surprise in her case.”
Finishing a bachelor’s degree is not the end of the road for Craton, as she is about to enroll in a master’s degree program in the same university. She is also set to put out a children’s book soon.
“But, I feel like I’m still on the road,” Craton said. “I have more to learn.”