90-year-old woman is oldest graduate of Illinois university

Joyce DeFauw of Illinois has given a whole new meaning to the term super senior, used for students who take longer than the usual four years to get their undergraduate degrees. On Sunday 11 December, the 90-year-old received a bachelor of general studies degree from Northern Illinois University more than seven decades after she first stepped on campus, becoming what officials believe to be the eldest person to ever graduate from the school, writes Ramon Antonio Vargas for The Guardian.

According to local news outlet WREX, DeFauw initially enrolled at her alma mater in 1951, when Americans were first introduced to the inventions of super glue, videotape recorders and credit cards. The school was known as Northern Illinois State Teachers College at the time. Her name was Joyce Kane, and originally she pursued a teaching degree but switched her major to home economics.

DeFauw, as she tells it, was a few semesters shy from completing her degree when she “met this good-looking guy” at church. She ultimately married that man, Don Freeman Sr, and raised three children with him before he died. DeFauw later remarried and with her second husband – the late Roy DeFauw – raised six more children, including two sets of twins. Then, in 2019, when she was in her late 80s, she decided to sign herself up to complete the degree she had started all those years ago at what is now known as Northern Illinois in DeKalb.
Full report on The Guardian site