On Wednesday, Annie Dillard, a 92-year-old beauty salon owner from South Carolina, earned her fourth college degree.
This isn't her first graduation, but that doesn't mean she was any less eager this time around. In fact, she arrived to her commencement ceremony at Midlands Technical College an hour and a half early.
"They told me to get here at 5:30, but I like to be on time, so I got here at 4 o'clock," Dillard told a local ABC News outlet. "It feels wonderful. I feel excited."
Dillard was the first of over 2,200 graduating Midlands Tech students to walk across the stage, where she received an associate's degree in the liberal arts. In less than two weeks, she'll begin working towards a fifth degree, this time studying early childhood education.
She says continuing her education helps her stay mentally sharp, something that people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates agree with completely. Buffett says he still spends 80 percent of his time reading and learning. "You don't really start getting old until you stop learning," Gates told Time in 2017.
Dillard also says she enjoys being an inspiration to others. "[The youngsters] say they have great inspiration and they say they're gonna tell mom and get mom to start school," she says.
"I've known Mrs. Dillard for a number of years, almost since she's started at the college and I've been really, really pleased with her progress. She would be on campus always smiling, always willing to talk with people," says Ronald Rhames, President of Midlands Technical College to ABC. "If I'm a 15, 16, 17, 18, 19-year-old student at our college and see a lady as mature as Mrs. Dillard, then I have to be encouraged to see what's gonna happen with me."
If you're interested in going back to college or going for the first time, heed Dillard's well-educated words of wisdom: "My advice is you can make it if you try, but you have to start somewhere."
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