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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Black Woman, Grandmother Earns Third College Degree at Age 76

Shirley Fuller

Nationwide — Meet Shirley Fuller, an African American grandmother from North Carolina who recently earned her Bachelor’s degree at the age of 76, achieving her third college degree since she was 70 years old.

In 2017, Fuller was 70 years old when she earned her Associate’s Degree from Wake Tech. It was one of the proudest moments of her life but was immediately followed by one of the toughest challenges. Only 9 months after graduating, a devastating fire wiped out her home and belongings.

“I lost everything I owned, except one object. And that was my textbook from Wake Tech,” Fuller told ABC 11. “And I said to God, there is a reason that this textbook survived this fire.”

The fire delayed her plans but the setback didn’t break her spirit. With the signed textbook left from the fire, she even earned a second degree from Wake Tech.

“I struggled. I grieved. I cried. I raised hell with myself when I needed to. But we don’t know what steps God has for us,” she said.

Most recently, she graduated from North Carolina Central University, an HBCU, with a Bachelor’s in behavioral and social sciences, becoming the first in her family to secure a 4-year college degree.

Having overcome previous struggles with addiction, depression, and assault, she made it her mission to “help other women who I know have been through worse situations than I did,” she said.

Now equipped with a Bachelor’s degree, Fuller aims to open a non-profit recovery facility for women in addiction. At the same time, the unstoppable grandma plans to start graduate work toward a Master’s degree in public administration.

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