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87-Year-Old Woman Graduates From TSU

Posted at 5:41 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 20:44:49-04

Lorraine Guth Parker graduated with a Masters degree from Tennessee State University at 87 years old, making her the oldest person in her graduating class.

"I'm a busy old lady," said Parker.  "I do everything." And this 80-something meant that literally.  "I've done 11 albums here," she said referring to the music she's recorded.

Parker's not just any singer.  She's been with the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame for 24 years, and she is a recognized artist.  "I was voted Entertainer of the Year in Georgia in 2006," said Parker.

Yet she didn't stop there, getting her real estate license, private investigator's certificate and becoming a pilot at age 44. 

She said she has pushed herself because at an early age she was told she couldn't. "The nun said she can't read, she can't write, she can't do arithmetic, but she's always pretty and has a pretty bow in her hair," said Parker.

Parker started to study hard and even taught herself how to play the organ.  She graduated at the top of her Tennessee State University class with a 3.81 GPA.

She earned a Master's degree in Criminal Justice, and people have taken notice.  Even the commander in chief was inspired enough to write her a letter in congratulations.

Putting on her cap and gown for a second time was something she said she visualized for a long time.  "Every time something is impossible I pray about it, and all of a sudden it happens," said Parker.

At 87, it was a huge accomplishment, but she said she wasn't done. "It's a great day,' she said.  "I just wish it was my doctorate."