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Patricia Turner, 73, joined cyberspace classmates from across the country to participate in a traditional Ashford University commencement ceremony held Oct. 13 in Moline, Ill.
She donned iconic academic regalia, marched to "Pomp and Circumstance," and received her diploma, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. While Turner is an acclaimed author with a reference book in the Ashford University library, this is her first higher education degree. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master's.
"You're never too old for something new," Turner, a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, said. "My online education experience was wonderful. I felt completely connected to the University, my professors, and classmates."
Turner adds that she has always been an avid reader who took many courses over the years, but never quite finished the requirements for a degree, albeit her research and writing have received national recognition.
With a passion for learning about the gods and goddesses involved in the creation of the universe, she spent seven years on The Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities with the late Charles Russell Coulter. The exhaustive reference work, published in 2002, offers descriptions of more than 10,000 gods, spirits, and mythical figures from all world cultures.
The book lists all of the known gods and goddesses through recorded history, including many that were previously obscure or only known from mythological literature. Amazon reviewers give it five stars.
"The book began as a dictionary of one line entries, but research opens doors to more and more fascinating stories. It just goes on and on," she said. "They say I take things too far and just never know when to stop."
Turner, who turned 73 on Aug. 19, her last day of class, shows no signs of stopping. In addition to continuing her higher education by pursuing a graduate degree, she has finished about 300 pages of her second book, which has been in the works for several years. "My publishers are anxious for me to get it done! Also, if I have enough time on this earth, I would like to use my higher education to help women from other cultures," she said.
Turner, who graduated summa cum laude, had a supportive cheering section on hand to help her celebrate her bachelor's degree milestone. Three of her daughters, one who came from Austria and two from Tennessee, as well as her granddaughter, were in attendance.
"Moving about, I've met many people who inspired me to go back to school," she said. "Online learning makes education accessible to everyone, regardless of one's age or life experiences. I highly recommend it."
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that's Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor's, and master's online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor's programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit ashford.edu or call Shari Winet Rodriguez, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.