76-year-old great-grandma becomes the first in her family to earn a four-year college degree 

Dollita Okine December 19, 2023
Shirley Fuller, 76, is the first person in her family to earn a 4-year college degree. Photo Credit: ABC 11

Shirley Fuller, 76, is the first person in her family to earn a 4-year college degree. “Grandma Shirley,” as people call her, told ABC 11 after graduating early this month from North Carolina Central University, “Praise the Lord. It means everything to me. Because my children know I’m not a quitter!”

Fuller gained her associate’s degree from Wake Tech at the age of 70, and she persevered even when her home was destroyed by a fire nine months later.

“I lost everything I owned, except one object. And that was my textbook from Wake Tech. And I said to God, there is a reason that this textbook survived this fire,” she expressed.

“I struggled. I grieved. I cried. I raised hell with myself when I needed to. But we don’t know what steps God has for us,” she added.

Previously, the trailblazer suffered and recovered from drug addiction, depression, and sexual assault. Fuller earned a second Wake Tech degree and got admitted to North Carolina Central University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in behavioral and social sciences, with aspirations to create a recovery facility for women in addiction.

“I want to help other women who I know have been through worse situations than I did,” said Fuller.

In the future, the great-grandmother aspires to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. Fuller also revealed that she will be working on her master’s while also launching her non-profit recovery facility.  

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 19, 2023


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