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Meet the 90-Year-Old Woman Who Earned Her Master's Degree at Northern Texas University

On Sunday, a 90-year-old woman will receive her postgraduate degree from the University of North Texas; she will be its oldest postgraduate graduate.

For Minnie Payne, it is the fulfillment of a dream that began 73 years ago when she graduated from high school, KTVT reported. The journalist and copy editor will receive her master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in writing. According to her LinkedIn profile, Payne earned enough credits for her degree on July 28.

“My grandson will accompany me across the stage,” Payne told KTVT.

She had briefly attended junior college when she graduated from high school, but her family situation forced her to work.

“My mother and father were uneducated textile workers,” Payne told KTVT. “We were poor.”

According to her website, Payne retired at age 68 as a transcriptionist and word processor and wanted to do more.

“I wasn’t doing anything constructive and although I can’t say enough good about volunteer work, it isn’t my ‘cup of tea,’” Payne wrote. “I am also not a social butterfly. I had always liked writing and had always been around words, so I returned to school to earn my undergraduate degree and study writing.”

So Payne went back to school, earning her bachelor’s degree in general studies at age 73 in 2006. She graduated with a 3.23 grade-point average and then took a job with Pegasus News, an online publication that was based out of Dallas.

She continued working toward her master’s -- “unfortunately, because I am not a math whiz, I failed the math portion of the GRE,” she told KTVT -- until she finally passed the necessary courses.

“Now that I’ve accomplished it, it seems sort of surreal,” Payne told the television station.

Payne already has a new writing job, working for a magazine in Houston, KTVT reported.

“It’s my intention to continue working as long as I am physically and mentally able to do it,” Payne told the television station.

And even though Payne turned 90 on May 24 and is an experienced writer, she knows there is room to improve her writing.

“A (North Texas) undergraduate professor told me “Write, write, write! It doesn’t matter what kind of publication, the more you write the better you become,” Payne posted on her website.

Source News: December 16, 2023


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