80-year-old student receives long-awaited bachelor’s degree

FLORENCE, Ala. - Graduation is a time for celebration and reflection. A time to look back on all the things you've overcome throughout your journey.

The University of North Alabama hosted one of its mid-year commencement ceremonies Saturday morning. As the graduates filed in, one graduate stood out.

Lorali Hulsey, walked in anxious and ready to receive her diploma.

And she said its been a long time coming.

"I was in college, things got a little rough and I lacked one class, but I had this dream job offered to me where I could work with children and parents and elderly," said Hulsey. "I wanted to work with all ages, so I grabbed that job and forgot about college."

Hulsey first stepped foot on the University of North Alabama's campus in 1991.

She is now 80 years old.

As she continued to work, Hulsey said she buried the thought of going back to finish school. But a special force encouraged her decades later.

"My granddaughter, she goes here to UNA now. She made sure that I got my degree today," explained Hulsey. "So, I'm kind of excited."

Lauren Watkins, Hulsey's granddaughter, said she owed it to her.

"It's amazing, I mean she's done so much for me in my life," said Watkins. "She's raised me for nineteen years. This is the least that I could do for her."

Hulsey had many challenges trying to get back in the swing of things after 30 years.

"It took a lot for her to figure out how to use our new database. Like how to log in and check her grades. A lot of that I had to do," said Watkins.

And like many fellow graduates, Hulsey was bursting with excitement on her big day.

"My daughter graduated from here, now my granddaughter is gonna graduate from here. And now I`m gonna graduate. I just, I think its wonderful!"

And as she graced the graduation stage, Hulsey said this was a moment she's waited a lifetime for.

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