84-year-old woman fulfills dream of getting college degree

Betty Sandison
Betty Sandison at her college graduation on May 7, 2022. Photo credit University of Minnesota/Facebook

MINNEAPOLIS (KNX) — It was a moment 67 years in the making.

In 1955, Betty Sandison left her hometown of Renville to attend University of Minnesota to become a nurse. She finished the program in a year.

She said continued to take courses, but then she met her husband and went to support his career and raise their family.

“I was about 25 credits, approximately 25-, 28-credits short,” she told WCCO.

She worked in nursing for 30 years before retiring.

In the spring of 2018, Sandison was having lunch with friends when she mentioned she wanted to return to school to finish up her bachelor’s degree.

Her friend asked, “What’s stopping you?”

In the fall of 2018, Sandison enrolled in classes at the University of Minnesota.

Her advisor, Karen Moon, said Sandison was “game for anything.”

“She was going for IT help—sitting down with people and learning the technology. … If there was some knowledge gap or skills gap, she was going to address that early,” Moon said.

Sandison told WCCO that she said during the 2020 pandemic she had to drop a couple classes after struggling with virtual classes, but started them again last fall.

On May 7, a week after celebrating her 84th birthday, Sandison walked across the stage and received her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

“My big thing is, I would like to encourage older people to go to classes, to keep learning, and not just sit in front of the TV,” she said.

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