World War II Veteran Graduates From College At 99
A woman has officially graduated from college nearly 70 years after she passed her diploma.
Last Friday, Elizabeth Barker Johnson was handed her Diploma of Teaching at what is now Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina after completing the degree in 1949.
Dressed in her red cap and gown and equipped with her walker, Johnson walked across the stage at the ceremony with other graduates -- most of them 70 years her junior -- watching on.
Johnson served in the US Army during WWII as a member of the 6888th Regiment -- the only all-female, all-African American regiment. The group was stationed overseas during the war. She drove trucks and delivered mail to soldiers on the front in both France and England.
After her service during the war, Johnson enrolled in Winston-Salem Teachers College. She was the first female to enroll under the 'Servicemen's Readjustment Act' (or GI Bill) -- a law that provided a range of benefits for returned WWII service people.
These benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans, one year of unemployment compensation, and dedicated payments of tuition and living expenses to attend high school, college, or vocational school.
She finished her study in 1949, however, she was unable to attend her graduation ceremony as she was already working and was unable to find someone to cover her shift.
At the ceremony last week Johnson made up for lost time and was all smiles as she crossed the stage.
She was awarded an honorary degree in special education.
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