94-year-old great-grandmother fulfills her dream of earning a college degree

- 94-Year-Old Amy Craton is demonstrating that you're never too old to achieve your goals and go for your dreams.

A surprise celebration was held in Honolulu, Hawaii on Monday to honor Craton, a great-grandmother, who some 55 years ago put her college education on hold to provide for her four children.

Craton is the oldest person to graduate from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), College of Online and Continuing Education.

In fact, SNHU is calling its prized student, "one of the world’s oldest college graduates."

With a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Craton earned an online bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English.

She uses a wheelchair and has hearing challenges, so attending a traditional college on a campus was not a possibility for her.

So she enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University, after her son suggested she take classes online to pursue her lifelong dream of earning a college degree.

School officials say Craton never had any trouble keeping up with her course load. In fact, she proved to be a consummate student and incredibly dedicated to her studies. 

SNHU leaders felt her accomplishments should not go unnoticed and wanted her to know how special and inspirational she is.

And because Craton was not going to be able to travel to New Hampshire for the school's Commencement ceremony in May, the school decided to go to her and throw her a celebration of her own.

SNHU President Paul LeBlanc, along with a team of other school officials, made the trip from Manchester, N.H. to Honolulu, to personally deliver Craton her diploma, which was framed and ready to be displayed.

Craton was smiles from ear to ear and overwhelmed with emotion as she received her diploma before friends, family, and fellow Hawaii-based SNHU alumni. Some of Craton’s family members who were not able to attend the celebration took part in the event via video chat.

“Amy is an extraordinary student; at the age of 94, she earned a degree that was 54 years in the making - and with a 4.0 GPA no less,” said LeBlanc.

“Amy is the epitome of a lifelong learner, and my hope is that her story will remind others that it’s never too late to follow their dreams or learn something new. The entire SNHU community could not be more proud of her accomplishment,” added LeBlanc.

Craton has a love for haiku, and during the event, she recited a poem she penned.

“I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life,” Craton said.

At age 94, her future is wide open, with hopes to eventually write a book for children. 

And this graduate also has more plans ahead for her academic journey. 

Craton is now pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and English.

“It feels good to graduate, but in many ways I feel I am still on the road; I have more to learn,” said Craton.

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