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Seventy-three-year-old Carrollton grandmother to graduate from TWU Dec. 16



DENTON– A lifelong dream will come true for 73-year-old Minnie Payne on Dec. 16, when the Carrollton grandmother receives her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.

“I always wanted to go to college, but couldn’t afford to go to school when I was young,” Ms. Payne said. “After I retired, I decided to pursue my dream of completing a college degree.”

Ms. Payne had gone to college for a year in the 1950s when her older sister paid for her to attend a small Baptist college in South Carolina. Financial obstacles impeded her completion of a degree, and Ms. Payne went on to get married, have children and work as a word processor for large insurance companies until her retirement at age 67.

In 2002, Minnie began taking courses at Dallas County Community College’s Brookhaven campus, where she was able to transfer some of her earlier college credits. After completing her core courses there, she transferred to TWU in 2003.

Professor of English Dr. Hugh Burns said, “I met Minnie the very first day that she was shopping for a degree program that would be rigorous, yet provide the moral support she needed. I told her that we were the university for her – and that she was the perfect student for us.”

Ms. Payne has had a special affinity for TWU, ever since her daughter Mary Beth graduated from the university in 1989.

“I appreciate the support I received from TWU,” Ms. Payne said. “The professors motivated me and the students treated me as if I was one of their peers.”

Dr. David Rylander, TWU assistant professor of marketing, said, “Minnie has been a real inspiration as a nontraditional student. She worked very hard to succeed in a college environment that is quite different with a fast pace and modern technology. She has a contagious enthusiasm, and it was a joy to see her reach her academic goals.”

Although Ms. Payne will receive her bachelor of general studies degree with an emphasis on English and business, she considers journalism her specialty and plans to work part-time for a newspaper after graduation.

“I always wanted to major in journalism since I have always enjoyed writing and being around words,” Ms. Payne said. “TWU was phasing out the journalism program when I enrolled, but I was able to take two journalism classes as electives. I also was given permission to take three journalism courses at the University of North Texas in place of three English classes.”

Dr. Tracy Everbach, UNT assistant professor of journalism and adviser to the “North Texas Daily,” said, “I admire Minnie for having the persistence and drive to complete her degree. Although she is not as young as her peers, she worked harder in my class and as a writer for the ‘North Texas Daily’ than most other students.”

Ms. Payne is proud that she was able to complete her degree in four years and that she will graduate with an above 3.0 GPA. Her husband of 45-years, Dale Payne, her son-in-law Steve Billings and her two grandchildren will be attending the TWU College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. on Dec. 16 in TWU’s Pioneer Hall.

“Graduation for me is bittersweet,” Ms. Payne said. “I have a great feeling of accomplishment, but I will miss the students, the classes and my teachers.”
Ms. Payne plans to keep on learning as she pursues her professional career in journalism.

“You are never too old to learn,” Ms. Payne said. “I am proof of that.”


For Further Information Contact:

Amanda McKeen Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

Office of Marketing & Communication
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