75-Year Old Black Grandma from North Carolina Makes History, Graduates From Shaw University

Nationwide — Rebecca Inge, a 75-year-old woman from Raleigh, North Carolina, has graduated from Shaw University, an HBCU. She began pursuing her college degree there 57-years ago.

In 1965, Inge, who was then living in Sanford, Florida, said she left home to pursue a college education at 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 told WRAL, adding that she was also interested in engineering.

At that time, she worked in the college’s cafeteria to support her own financial needs while studying. However, she had to put her dreams on hold when she got married and gave birth to her daughter.
Her daughter Marisa Ratliff Dunston, who is now retired after years of serving in the U.S. military, said her mother sacrificed a lot for her family. She said, “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.”

During those previous years, Inge had different jobs including working at NASA during the first space shuttle mission and serving as a safety instructor at Disney World. When her husband died in 2015, she usually stayed with her daughter.

Recently, she decided to continue pursuing her college degree by re-enrolling at Shaw University. There had been a few hurdles due to the huge year gap but everything worked out in the end also with the help of her daughter.

Now, Inge is preparing for her commencement ceremonies on May 8. She is excited to ultimately fulfill her dream.

“You gotta live ’til you die, so why not be happy doing something that makes you happy and get involved?” she said.

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