Speed Reads


90-year-old graduates from college, 71 years after her 1st class

Joyce DeFauw is a super senior in more ways than one.

The 90-year-old graduated from Northern Illinois University on Sunday, earning her bachelor's degree in general studies more than 70 years after she first enrolled in classes. "I could just jump and shout and run and howl," she told Good Morning America.

DeFauw, a great-grandmother of 26, studied elementary education and home economics at NIU in the early 1950s, but dropped out after three years to get married and start a family. She never stopped thinking about her college days, and three years ago, her children encouraged her to go back to school, buying her a computer so she could start online classes in August 2019.

During the hard times, when DeFauw thought about quitting, she remembered how many people were rooting for her, from her professors to her classmates to her friends and family, and "I just couldn't give up," she told GMA.

NIU President Dr. Lisa Freeman called DeFauw an "inspiration, a trailblazer, and now a Northern Illinois University college graduate," and those are all titles DeFauw happily accepts. Her advice to others in similar circumstances is simple. "Keep going, don't give up," she said. "You might feel like it and all that, but just hang in there because the end will come and you will be victorious."