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83-Year-Old Marie Fowler Becomes Howard University’s Oldest Graduate

Marie Fowler, at 83, became Howard University’s oldest graduate, earning a doctorate in divinity. Despite initial doubts about her ability and finances, she was motivated by her parents' experiences and her father’s words.

“My mom and dad was born in an era when it was illegal for them to learn to read and write. We taught my dad how to read and write and how to sign his name,” she said.

 Fowler had been out of school since 1959 and didn’t think she could retain information. However, she persevered and made a significant impact during her three years at Howard’s Divinity School. Her professor, Alice Ogden Bellis, praised her determination.

“She was the life of the party,” said Bellis. “She knew what she needed, what she wanted, and she came here and she did that.”

Fowler emphasizes that it’s never too late to pursue education, echoing her father’s belief that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” 


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