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89-year-old woman receives her master's degree

Joan Donovan, 89, earned a master's degree in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University's online program. Photo courtesy of Southern New Hampshire University
Joan Donovan, 89, earned a master's degree in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University's online program. Photo courtesy of Southern New Hampshire University

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Jan. 5 (UPI) -- An 89-year-old Florida woman had something extra to celebrate during the holidays when she received her master's degree.

Joan Donovan donned a cap and gown for a private graduation ceremony outside her Florida home to celebrate earning her master's degree in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

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Donovan said she graduated high school at age 16, but her family didn't have the money to send her to college. She took some post-graduate courses at her local high school, but education fell to the wayside after she got married and started a family.

Donovan went back to school to earn her associate's degree after her children moved away from home, and she graduated with a bachelor's degree from a four-year university at age 84.

"Then I said, 'why not keep going?'" Donovan said in a news release from SNHU.

She determined she wanted to earn her master's in creative writing, but her college didn't offer a program. She ended up enrolling in SNHU's online program to pursue her goal.

"I was afraid to try college," Donovan said. "So I say, 'try things.' If you fail, try it again ... but just keep trying."

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