90-year-old woman, Joyce DeFauw graduates 71 years after starting college

90-year-old woman, Joyce DeFauw graduates 71 years after starting college

A 90-year-old woman graduated from Northern Illinois University (NIU) in the United States, 71 years after enrolling for a home economics degree.

Joyce DeFauw, a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, walked across the stage on Sunday to receive her diploma, bringing to a close a dream that had been in the works since 1951.

DeFauw, then Joyce Viola Kane, told CNN that she attended college for three and a half years before dropping out after meeting a special man at a church.

Don Freeman Sr. captured her heart and married her in 1955. Before her late first husband died, the nonagenarian graduate had three children with him.



She remarried Roy DeFauw, her second late husband, with whom she had six children, including two sets of twins, five years later.

Her family has grown over the years, with 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

DeFaw didn’t want to go back and finish what she had started until 2019. Her family supported her decision to finish her education.

“I guess I mentioned I was upset that I didn’t finish school and my children encouraged me to go back,” she recalled.
So she enrolled back at NIU, but not before leaving the school shocked by her query about a previous enrollment from the 50s.
Only, this time, the classes were online and she had to learn how to use a laptop at her grand old age.

‘Don’t give up’

DeFaw, at times, felt like quitting but she held on.
And her advice for those who find themselves in her shoes: “Don’t give up. I know it can be difficult, but everything in life has its ups and downs.”



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