99-year-old Maine woman receives 75-year-old diploma

BELFAST, ME (WABI/CNN) – A 99-year-old Maine woman finally got her college diploma Friday, 75 years after she earned it.

Jesse Rose Jones has truly never stopped learning.

“It was such a good role model for young folks coming through to show the value of education,” Allen T. Stehel, President, Beal College said.

The Belfast 99-year-old graduated from Beal Business College with a degree in stenography and accounting in 1939, but couldn’t afford the five dollar processing fee, so she never got a diploma.

“That story just touched my heart and I took five dollars out of my wallet and I paid the administrative fee for her diploma,” Donna Gilbert said.

Gilbert, a friend of Jones, heard the story about how Jones had lived with polio and was given money to attend college. Gilbert contacted Beal College to see if they could help.

“It didn’t hurt to try. It didn’t hurt to try,” Gilbert said.

Beal not only gave her her diploma, but a cap and gown, and a graduation party 75 years overdue.

“It’s like I’m getting the diploma,” Jones said.

Jones, who is still young at 99, loves surfing the web and learning new things from Google.

“I say never give up learning because they say you know when we give up learning we grow old, so I don’t intend to give up learning,” Jones said.

But she does have her limits.

“I’m not on Facebook though, I tried it and I didn’t like it,” Jones said.

Friends and family came out to support Jones, like she was any other graduate.

“My life is complete,” Jones said.

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