105-Year-Old Virginia Hislop Earns Master’s Degree From Stanford, 83 Years After Starting

105-Year-Old Virginia Hislop Earns Master’s Degree From Stanford, 83 Years After Starting

Virginia "Ginger" Hislop, 105, finally earned her master's degree from Stanford, 83 years after starting. Her lifelong work in education, including in Washington, led to a celebrated return to Stanford for her diploma.

Siksha MUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 04:05 PM IST
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105-Year-Old Virginia Hislop Earns Master’s Degree From Stanford, 83 Years After Starting | Charles Russo

A lifetime goal was recently fulfilled by Virginia "Ginger" Hislop, 105, who, 83 years after she started her studies, received her master's degree from Stanford University.

Education journey

Hislop started at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) in 1936, aiming to follow in the educational footsteps of her grandmother and aunt. After completing her bachelor's in 1940, Hislop began her master's studies but left just before submitting her final thesis to marry her boyfriend, George Hislop, who had been called to serve in World War II.

After leaving Stanford, Hislop's dedication to education remained unwavering. She advocated for her children's educational opportunities and became a member of the school board in Yakima, Washington. Over a span of 13 years, she actively promoted equity in education and played a key role in shaping the local school system. Her influence also extended to higher education, as she served on the board of directors for Yakima Community College and contributed to the establishment of Heritage University, where she served as a board member for two decades.

On June 16, Hislop returned to Stanford to complete what she started. At the GSE commencement ceremony, Dean Daniel Schwartz highlighted her long-standing dedication to education and her role as an advocate for learning. “A fierce advocate for equity and the opportunity to learn ... today we are proud to confer the master of arts in education to our 105-year-old graduate,” he said.

Hislop’s return to Stanford to receive her diploma was met with a standing ovation from her fellow graduates and their families. Her family, including children and grandchildren, watched proudly as she walked across the stage in her cap and gown to receive her master's hood.

Reflecting on her journey, Hislop said, “I think I did good things for our local school system, and I helped broaden it out. For me, this degree is an appreciation of the many years I’ve put in working for the schools in the Yakima area and on different boards.

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