She’s living proof that there are infinite possibilities!
A Maryland woman graduated from college one day after her 82nd birthday, CNN reports.
Mae Beale has never allowed any grass to grow under her feet, starting her career as a young woman working as a licensed practical nurse in Washington, D.C. While serving at the Department of Health and Human Services, Beale began planning several large events for the organization, inspiring her to switch careers.
In 1994 when Beale was 54, she launched her event-planning company while pursuing an associate degree in Business Management at Howard Community College. In her 70s, she decided to return to school to pursue her bachelor’s degree by taking one class at a time. While she was of course older than many of the students, she was an exemplary student.
“I wanted to make certain I had the time to devote to whichever class I was taking. I was like the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race. I discovered that I had to be intentional about it and make it my priority,” Beale told reporters.
Now retired, Beale has graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). Not only did Beale graduate with honors, but she also made the dean’s list several times while at UMGC and graduated with her diploma on May 18, just one day after her 82nd birthday. While her coursework was completed in 2020, Beale waited for the school’s first in-person graduation ceremony post-COVID to collect her diploma alongside 3,300 other students from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
While still very active in her community and participating as an advocate on multiple local boards in Maryland, Beale said the degree has given her even more confidence. She hopes her journey inspires others to pursue a college degree, no matter their age.
“I knew that if I had the degree, it would solidify things and make me feel more comfortable…Expose yourself to as many possibilities as you can because you never know what life will present,” said Beale.
Congratulations, Ms. Mae Beale! You did it!
Photo Courtesy of Bob Ludwig/University of Maryland Global Campus