CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - A 72-year-old grandmother of three achieves her lifelong goal.
Carolyn Mitchell was among the most recent UCA graduates, and she graduated with honors.
Here's more from the University of Central Arkansas:
Mitchell, a 1958 graduate of Little Rock Central High School, was among the more than 430 graduates who received their degrees during commencement Friday night at the University of Central Arkansas. She graduated with honors.
"I am one of those people that when I start something, I have to finish it," she said. "... I am going to hang my degree on my wall, look at it and say 'I did this. I completed this.'"
Mitchell was a student at Ouachita Baptist University during the early 1960s. She married her husband, Bob, her junior year. The couple soon had a son and later moved to North Little Rock. She was six hours short of earning a degree in home economics when she left Ouachita.
Last summer, Mitchell told her husband she was ready to go back to school to finish her degree. She had retired after 35 years as a realtor in Fort Worth and had the time to focus on her studies, she said. The couple decided to visit UCA. The staff and faculty were encouraging and supportive.
"I was astounded by that," said Bob Mitchell. "They were so open to her. They called and checked on her occasionally. I am really proud that she is getting a degree from this university."
Mitchell credits Dr. Renee Ryburn and Dr. Mary Harlan for her success. Ryburn and Harlan, faculty in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, developed a plan to help Mitchell achieve her goal. She took 12 hours of online classes and two classes at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. She also completed an internship.
"Carolyn is amazing and such an inspiration to all. She is a great example that it is never too late to pursue your lifelong dreams," said Harlan. "We are so happy for her."
Mitchell offered a few words of encouragement for those debating whether to continue their education.
"Don't give up on your dreams," she said. "It was a dream of mine to finish. At 72 years old, I finished it."
During the commencement Friday night, UCA President Tom Courtway asked the graduates to take a moment to write a thank you note to someone who helped them during their journey. The university provided note cards, pens, envelopes and postage to mail the notes.
"This is a night to celebrate. This is a night for family. This is a night to rejoice" Courtway said. "This is also a night to give thanks."