MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) “It’s graduation season right now, and many of these grads are in their early twenties, about to start their first jobs.
But at the University of Minnesota, there was a graduate whose degree had been in the works for 67 years.
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“Just pure joy, pure joy,” Betty Sandison said, thinking back to the day of the U of M’s graduation. [Mall].”
In 1955, Sandison left Renville, her small farming town in central Minnesota, as the first person in her family to go to college.
She went to U to get her nursing license, a program that only took her a year. She continued to take college courses, but was eventually sidetracked when she met her husband and followed his career moves, never completing her degree.
“I had about 25 credits, about 25, 28 credits short,” Sandison said.
After raising two daughters and pursuing a decades-long nursing career, she finally retired in 2013.
“I was out to lunch with some friends and we were talking about bucket lists and things we wanted to do, and I said I always wanted to graduate from U,” Sandison said.
She was determined to make it happen. Shortly after that lunch, she signed up for classes at U in the fall of 2018. She says her second time as a Gopher was very different.
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“It was the University of Minnesota when I was here,” Sandison said, showing an aerial photograph of the campus in the 1950s when she first attended college, “There was no no west bank.You can see the parking lots which are now all buildings.
A bigger campus is one thing, but technology was its biggest obstacle.
“This IT company almost got me in. I spent a lot of time on IT [Department]”Sandison said.
Going virtual during the peak of the pandemic in 2020 almost stopped her dream.
“I had to drop out of the two classes I was trying to take online, I couldn’t do it,” Sandison said, “But last fall I started again.”
On May 7, 2022, she did. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.
“You have to do what you want to do or what your goals are. Don’t let anyone stop you,” Sandison said.
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She says she doesn’t know what’s next for her, but said she was already thinking about a new goal she could work towards again.