71 years after starting college, a 90-year-old woman is graduating

A 90-year-old woman will finally walk across the stage and receive her diploma, 71 years after she first enrolled in college.

Joyce DeFauw, then Joyce Viola Kane, started her freshman year at Northern Illinois University in 1951 with a plan to graduate with a degree in home economics.

But those plans changed when DeFauw met a special man at church who stole her heart, she told C.NN Thursday.

“I went to school for three and a half years, but decided to leave after I met him.” DeFauw said.

The special man was Don Freeman Sr. The two got married in 1955, and had three children together before Freeman passed away, leaving her widowed for about five years.

DeFauw eventually got remarried to her late second husband, Roy DeFauw. Together they had six children, including two sets of twins.

Throughout the years her family grew, and she now has 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Flash forward to 2019 when DeFauw showed interest in the college education she left behind.

“I guess I mentioned I was upset that I didn’t finish school and my children encouraged me to go back,” she said, so she enrolled back at Northern Illinois and began taking classes.






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