Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on June 9th, 2015

Doreetha Daniels: At age 99, she became one of the oldest community college graduates ever.

Doreetha Daniels
Doreetha Daniels  

On June 5th, 2015 Doreetha graduated from College of the Canyons, a California community college, with an Associate of Arts degree.

It had been more than 80 years, in 1934, since this beautiful black lady graduated from high school and the world today is a far different place.

In 1934, there were no computers, no television.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, Babe Ruth was still playing baseball, segregation and inequality for women were common practice and the Great Depression gripped the world.

What motivated Doreetha to enroll in college all these years later?

It was a logical extension of the life she had been living.

Doreetha had worked for McDonnell Douglas, and she and her husband of 50 years, Robert had raised a family.

Their family included son Robert Jr. now 76, a retired engineer with whom Doreetha lives, and their son Raymond, now 72, a retired attorney.

When Robert Sr. passed away in 1988, the children were grown and had families of their own and Doreetha, then 72, had extensive activities of her own.

She traveled the world, from the Middle East to Europe to Africa.

And Doreetha was a leader in the community of Agua Dulce, a town of about 3500 people, 40 miles north of Los Angeles where she was president of the women's club, and a volunteer at the local hospital.

Doreetha was also an accomplished maker of jewelry, stained glass and ceramics, when at the age of 90; she decided she was ready for a new challenge.

Her son Robert told Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times what motivated Doreetha to enroll in college:

"We encouraged her, and she's the type of person able to do whatever she puts her mind to."

"It took about eight years because she took two courses at a time," her son Raymond added.

There were also "a few bumps in the road," as Doreetha termed them. She had a minor stroke, which left some paralysis in her right hand.

And at age 97, she stopped driving, which meant others needed to drive her to school.

Now that Doreetha has her Associate of Arts degree, what's next? If her health allows, it will be another grand challenge.

Success Tip of the Week: In the words of her granddaughter Portia, "You're never too old to learn something new."

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here. To see and hear Doreetha and her family at her community hosted 98th birthday party, click here. To learn more about Agua Dulce see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agua_Dulce,_California.

In the next KazanToday: One of the great scientists of our time who kept advancing science throughout his 96 year life.

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