CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A grandmother in Tennessee is proving that's never too late to go back to college and you can even do it with the ones you love.
Alongside her 22-year-old granddaughter, 74-year-old Pat Ormond recently graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Pat and her grandchild, Melody, received their degrees during the same commencement ceremony on Nov. 20. Pat earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, while Melody got her bachelor’s in psychology.
The duo says graduating together was always the plan when they enrolled at UTC in 2017.
To graduate at the same time, though, the university says Pat sometimes had to take five courses per semester, plus labs. Despite the massive load, she ended with a 3.79 grade point average.
Pats' achievement comes after a successful career in accounting, as well as the full-time job of being a mother and grandmother.
In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, she took a few courses here and there, but never finished her degree due to her busy life.
“The money for the classes had to be used for classes only after living expenses and the children’s expenses were taken care of. This meant there was very little left for my education,” she explained.
So, when she retired, her family encouraged her to give college another shot.
Despite graduating, it seems Pat isn’t ready to give up school just yet. She’s also begun work toward a bachelor’s in history and hopes to finish the degree by sometime in 2023 or perhaps earlier.
Both Pay and Melody aren’t yet sure what they want to do with their degrees. However, Melody says that whatever path her life takes, her grandmother will be her inspiration.
“She’s inspired me to sort of take my time. I have my whole life ahead of me,” she said. “It’s not inspiring me to be lazy, but just to enjoy my life because I know that I have a life to live. I don’t have to do it all now. Nana has seen and experienced a lot of things, and I would like to be able to say that when I’m older.”