CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Among the almost 200 students who graduated Friday afternoon from UTC was a woman who received her diploma 57 years after she finished high school. She graduated with high honors.
Pat Ormond's granddaughter, Melody, is the person who pushed her to graduate. They walked across the stage together.
"I was becoming a bit of a homebody and a pain," UTC Anthropology graduate Pat Ormond said.
Pat Ormond started college but didn't finish. She had children and life got busy and eventually, she retired.
"People when they retire they still need something to accomplish, a goal," Pat Ormond said.
In 2017, her granddaughter, Melody, wanted to get her out of the house, so she convinced her to go to UTC with her.
"I thought she could go back to college and sort of just inspire all of us to know that we can do anything at any age," UTC Psychology graduate Melody Ormond said.
Pat said nothing was stopping her, so why not?
"I would just scream at her across campus 'Nana!' and she would turn around and be like who is that?" Melody Ormond said.
Melody said at times it was competitive having her grandmother in school with her.
"It definitely just made me want to push harder," Melody Ormond said.
Three years later, Pat graduated with a Bachelor's in anthropology and Melody graduated with a Bachelor's in psychology. They are both extremely proud of each other.
"Lifelong thing for me fulfilled because I wanted to go to college before I graduated high school in '63. I kind of still don't believe it," Pat Ormond said.
Pat plans to use her degree to work on GIS plotting of archeological science in Tennessee and help edit a book. Melody is taking a break before she goes back to complete her Master's.
"My Nana has experienced a lot of things and seen a lot of things and I would like to say the same. I have my whole life ahead of me to do whatever I want to do," Melody Ormond said.
Pat's advice to those on the fence about getting a degree is to go for it.
"Don't waste this time you have while you're young to get an education, go ahead and get it," Pat Ormond said.
Pat said being in college has helped her mentally and physically. It keeps her brain sharp and she gets in a lot of steps.