Graduate turns back hands of time

Seneca woman gets degree 48 years after classmates

Sharon Irwin Specal to The Observer

6 months 13 days 10 hours ago |958 Views | | | Email | Print

NEWBERRY — When you think about about your typical college graduate, what do you see? Would you imagine someone 70 years old, who also enjoys traveling across the world to places such as Ireland?

Jerri McGee Rucker from Seneca is currently doing such things.

Raised in Elberton, Ga., Rucker attended Newberry College between 1961 and 1965. She was a full- time student receiving the full college experience.

She was on course to graduate when she made a decision that would change her life forever: Her husband, the late Ken Rucker, proposed to her and she said yes.

She got married and had three daughters. In total, her daughters had seven grandchildren.

“In the back of my mind I always thought about going back and graduating, but I never seemed to find the time,” said Rucker.

Barbara Smith, an old roommate of Rucker’s, joined the board at Newberry College. Smith decided to look into what it would take for Rucker to graduate. Surprisingly, Smith found that Rucker had enough credits to graduate.

“I said I would do it,” Rucker said.

For her graduation, Rucker said a lot of her old college friends came to support her.

“The experience was neat to have my daughters and all my grandchildren in the audience and to be 70 amongst a bunch of 20 year olds,” she said.

Rucker graduated in the spring of 2013, 48 years later than her original class.

“All of my daughters graduated from college and we preach to my grandchildren that there is no difference between high school and college,” she said.

Rucker, who turned 70 this year, celebrated by traveling to Ireland with some close friends. And although she’s 70, she’s living life like she’s in her 20’s.

Sharon Irwin is from Staten Island, N.Y., and is studying communications at Newberry College.


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