73 Year Old Earns Next Degree

Friday, May 2nd 2008, 5:55 pm
By: News On 6

Some college students joke about being on the five year plan.  You could say Carolyn Mathews is on the 55 year plan.  The 73-year-old daycare worker graduates from Tulsa Community College Thursday night with a degree in Child Development.  It's not that she's a slow learner.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports it's that she can't "stop" learning.

She's worn orange and black from OSU.  Red from OU.  But, from a strictly color standpoint, Carolyn Mathews thinks her blue TCC cap and gown her favorite so far.

"Isn't that beautiful," said Carolyn Mathews.

Even more impressive maybe than the fact she's earning a college degree at 73 is the fact this is her fourth college degree.  No fancy reason, she says she's continued to get degrees as her work required it.  In this case, her job at a Prattville Daycare Center.

"And one day I was driving by TCC and thought yes, I'll look into this," said Carolyn Mathews.  "So, five semesters later, I'm graduating."

She says none of her younger classmates had much of a reaction to a senior, a real senior, in their midst.  Even though, she was obviously different.

"No there wasn't anybody close to my age.  I might have had a 35-year-old," said Carolyn Mathews.

And, she brought her old-fashioned work ethic.

"I watch those young people on the computers in the library and, at times, I see that they're playing games and doing other things, and I'm thinking," said Carolyn Mathews.  "I'm really not interested in the games."

She says the computers were the only big difference between this degree and the last degree she got back in 1981.  Mainly, when she had to take a test on one; no pencil or paper, just the machine.

"Working that mouse across the field and trying to click it on, I was nervous about that," said Carolyn Mathews.

She's already making plans to go back to school for either a music education course or a pediatric nursing degree.

Mathews also has a degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master's Degree in Special Education and a degree in Library Media.