Home / Funny / Viral / 105-Year-Old Teacher Finally Got To Receive Her Masters In Education


It was only a few generations ago that American women were expected to give up on their career goals as soon as they got married. This meant retiring from teaching, even though Virginia "Ginger" Hislop, who is currently 105 years old, had spent years of time and effort in her preparation. Hislop left Stanford University in 1941 after completing the majority of her credits, but she never got her master's in education. Now that Hislop had raised two kids and had an amazing career in education, she was able to walk across the graduation stage and get her master's degree.

Hislop had no choice but to shorten her degree. Due to World War II, her then-boyfriend George had been called up to serve in the armed forces. This led to a speedy marriage before they relocated to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the U.S. Army outpost.

At first, Hislop aspired to follow in her father's legal career. But he was against women practising law, and he was even less in favour of his daughter attending law school. Inspired by her grandmother and aunt, who were also teachers, Hislop decided that teaching was the next best thing. Hislop was taught that "you help with the housekeeping if you're part of the community." It is your duty to look out for other people. 

Four years after enrolling at Stanford in 1936, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in education. A year later, she only needed to turn in a thesis to complete her master's degree. Although she was never able to complete that thesis, her son-in-law Doug Jensen learned 83 years later that the graduate program had eliminated the thesis requirement. This indicated that Hislop was done with her coursework and just needed to put on a gown and cap. Hislop exclaimed, "My goodness, I've been waiting for this for a long time." 

Even though Hislop had just received her master's degree, she was able to go into teaching. It's important to remember that, even with her degree, she would not have been hired by many school systems because she was married. These "marriage bars," which permitted schools to refuse to hire wives and even fire teachers who married after being hired, were not abolished fully until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Her career may have been delayed by gender differences, but they helped her grow into a strong advocate for all students.

The Yakima school her daughter Anne was attending insisted that young Anne take home economics instead of her preferred advanced English class when Anne started the ninth grade. Her mother eventually joined the Yakima school board because she would not have it. Hislop, who served on the school board for 13 years, stated, "I felt that everyone should have a crack at higher education if they wanted and that all the kids should have an opportunity to develop their potential as best they could."

Subsequently, she collaborated with state and local lawmakers to establish a separate organisation with its own board and budget, replacing the junior college that was part of the Yakima school district. The Community College Act of 1967 and her efforts have made Yakima Valley College more than just the 13th and 14th grades. It now grants master's, bachelor's, and associate's degrees. Hislop went on to become a board member of numerous other organisations that focused on education and the arts. 

Hislop says, "I didn't go back to teaching, but I think I made good use of my teaching certificate by serving on boards and committees and working to improve the educational opportunities whenever I could." Hislop is still very much involved in her community, despite the fact that you might think of her master's degree as the ideal capstone to her influential career. "The biggest lesson I've taken from her is that you never really stop learning," concurs Jensen. She reads a lot, and even at 105 years old, she is still moving and shaking. Under her feet, there is no moss growth.

Her continued inspiration was evident from the thunderous applause she received at commencement.

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