A Black Woman’s Half-Century Journey to a Bachelor’s Degree

DeloresOjunga_HighlightDelores Ojunga-Andrew is a Black woman who is a member of the Class of 2018 at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. At age 72, she is the oldest student enrolled at the women’s college.

Ojunga-Andrew attended high school in Chicago. Her guidance counselor told her she should work in a factory. She instead became a registered nurse through a three-year training program. But the American Nurses Association soon declared that a professional nurse would need a four-year bachelor’s degree in order to becoming fully qualified.

Ojunga-Andrew moved to Massachusetts and worked as a registered nurse, raised a family, and continued to pursue education. “I had to make sure that I was recognized as a professional nurse, as someone who could stand toe-to-toe academically and professionally. I had to get the credentials to go with it.”

After retirement in 2009, Ojunga-Andrew began study at Springfield Technical Community College. She earned an associate’s degree in 2013 with a 4.0 grade point average. She has been taking three classes a semester at Mount Holyoke ever since, majoring in Africana studies.

It has taken her nearly a half century, but Ojunga-Andrew is scheduled to receive the coveted credential in May 2018.


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