Beal College in Bangor awarded Jessie White her degree during a special ceremony on Friday hosted by Alan Stehle, the college’s president. White was supposed to graduate in 1939, but couldn’t afford the transcript fee.

A Maine native, she received her degree in stenography and bookkeeping. A friend who recently learned of her decades-old predicament called Stehle, who paid her balance and set up the ceremony.

White suffered a disability from a polio infection, but she persisted until she landed a job and worked for years as a bookkeeper. White said finally getting her degree made her feel ‘great’. “Never give up learning. They say when you give up learning you grow old,” she said. “So I don’t intend to give up learning.”


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