74-Year-Old Grandmother and 22-Year-Old Granddaughter Graduate From College Together
“I always brag since she started going to school with me,” Melody Ormond said of her grandmother, Pat Ormond.
A retired grandmother graduated from college after her granddaughter, who graduated alongside her, convinced her to go back to school. Pat Ormond, 74, and Melody Ormond, 22, received their bachelor’s degrees last month after having supported each other through classes at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2017.
“I always brag since she started going to school with me,” Melody said, according to the university. “I’ve told people, like every class, all my friends, ‘Oh, Nana, she goes to school, my Nana, my Nana, did you hear that? And everybody’s always like, ‘Oh wow, that’s so cool.’”
Melody's mother and Pat's daughter, Darla Ormond, also graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, receiving her bachelor's degree in 1994, which means three generations of women in the family have graduated from the same school.
Pat’s journey to higher education actually began nearly 60 years ago. She took computer classes at a technical school in Atlanta in 1963, and pursued college-level courses at Kennesaw State University in 1978, but left after a semester. In the '80s and '90s, she took a few courses at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
All the while, she pursued a full-time career in accounting and raised a family.
“The money for the classes had to be used for classes only after living expenses and the children's expenses were taken care of,” she explained. “This meant there was very little left for my education.”
After she retired, Pat said she finally had time on her hands. “I was becoming a pain, I can admit that now,” she joked.
But going back to college didn’t cross Pat’s mind until her granddaughter transferred to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in her sophomore year, and convinced her to join her.
“It was a little difficult [to convince her], sort of a resistance to change and just the generally typical idea that, ‘I don’t want to go to college. I’m too old for college,’” Melody said. “And I was, ‘That’s a lie. Of all the women in our family, you inspire us to know that we can do anything at any age.’”
Melody pursued a degree in psychology, while her grandmother, who raced to finish her degree at the same time as her granddaughter, went on to study anthropology, and graduated with honors.
Pat is now taking courses to pursue her bachelor’s in history, while Melody is exploring her passions in order to do something meaningful with her degree.
“I have my whole life ahead of me,” Melody said. “Nana has seen and experienced a lot of things, and I would like to be able to say that when I’m older.”
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