Alabama Woman, 78, Graduates from University with a Bachelor's Degree

Afouda Bamidele
May 13, 2021
02:50 A.M.

An Alabama woman made the news after attaining the outstanding milestone of completing her studies at Samford University and getting her bachelor's degree at the age of 78.


Vivian Cunningham, a native of Alabama, beat the odds against COVID-19 and other circumstances that she encountered in life as the 78-year-old bagged her bachelor's degree in Liberal studies.

The senior citizen's story has become an inspiration to many people, both old and young, who want to achieve academic success. Cunningham recalled growing up in Titusville, Birmingham.

A photo of university graduates wearing purple robes hold their cap while posing together  | Photo: Pixabay

A photo of university graduates wearing purple robes hold their cap while posing together | Photo: Pixabay

The scholar noted that she grew up with the knowledge to become a seamstress, her grandmother and great grandmother had both been seamstresses, and it was passed down to her.

While the 78-year-old loved making dresses, she was quite interested in education. She worked in Atlanta as a seamstress for a while before returning to Birmingham, where she got a job at the Alabama Power Company.


The Samford graduate worked hard to raise her kids, and there wasn't much left for education. She worked at the power company for 13-years, within which she worked her way up.

In 2019, a 94-year-old woman, Amy Craton, went viral after she bagged her bachelor's degree with an impressive 4.0 GPA.


Cunningham soon got the opportunity to brush up on her education with the power company's Tuition Reimbursement Program, and she earned course credits at many universities in Birmingham.

She earned an associate degree in paralegal studies at Virginia College before moving to Samford University. Speaking about her, Cunningham's son, Donald, mentioned that it was tough on her from the beginning.

Cunningham was a single mom with two kids and could not get a babysitter. Donald's sister, Tarra P. Barnes, made it known that despite the struggles, their mom was love personified.


Six years after enrolling in Samford, the university graduate is ready to forge ahead with her studies. She noted that there was a possibility that she would go for her master's degree.

In 2019, a 94-year-old woman, Amy Craton, went viral after bagging her bachelor's degree with an impressive 4.0 GPA. It took Craton five decades to attain her educational goal, but she did ace the degree.

Cration's education was on hold in 1962 because she returned to work and raised her four children after divorce. Now, she is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University.


Also, in 2019, Alabama A&M University recorded the groundbreaking success of another senior citizen. An 80-year-old student graduated magna cum laude with an amazing 4.0 GPA.

The academic scholar Donzella Washington and her outstanding university result also went down in history as the oldest graduate of Alabama A&M University in the school's 144-year span.

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