Tuesday, August 24, 2010

63 years young: It’s never too late to achieve your dream of a college degree

Daria Ward vividly recalls the day in 2008 when she attended a First Year Initiative meeting, a networking group at Peirce College that offers support for both new and returning students. As she listened to a group of adult women talk about their return to school at a later point in life, she felt a sense of fulfillment. At that time, Daria was a 61-year-old mother of four grown children who had just recently made the decision to return to school after many years in the workforce.

Daria looks back on her career as a case worker for public welfare with pride and enthusiasm, but she had promised herself that she would one day complete her education, and it was time to make good on that promise. It is her personal belief that it is never too late to pursue your academic goals.

On June 14, 2010, at 63 years young, Daria graduated from Peirce College with honors, receiving her AS in Business Administration. Her son came all the way from Missouri to see his mother graduate and treated her to the luxury of a limousine. She was thrilled -- and not just with the limo! It was a time to celebrate with friends and family, and the neighborhood put on a block party in honor of her accomplishment.

Since graduating, Daria took a moment to share her experience and encourage other prospective students out there. Below is a letter she wrote in late July that is directed at those who may be wondering if it is too late to continue their education:


My name is Daria Ward. Just seven weeks ago I walked up the steps at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and realized a lifelong goal, when I received my associate degree in Business Administration. While it was an exceptional moment for me, I will never forget the look on the faces of my children who were proudly watching their mother’s accomplishment.

I love it at Peirce College. I feel comfortable being a student here. The hands-on support and guidance, as well as individual attention Peirce provides, makes all the difference for me.

I learned it’s never too late to return to school, no matter what reason made you put it aside. There is no age limit on education—even at “61 years young” it was the right time for me to get started! As a former case worker for public welfare, I encouraged many of my clients to get jobs and become role models for their children and to go to college.

Getting my associate degree was a promise kept. What am I doing now? I am working on my bachelor’s degree at Peirce. It’s a challenge, but then again, Peirce helps empower me to succeed.

If you have been considering completing your degree, don’t put it off any longer. A college degree can help change your life like it did mine—you owe it to yourself to take that next step. Peirce also has a $500 Readmit Scholarship for which you may be eligible—yet another reason to get started again! The Readmit Team is available to help get your degree back on track. Contact them today at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9026.


Daria Ward
Management, Business Administration

Today, Daria is proud to say that she is a Peirce College Ambassador. The Ambassadors Club is a voluntary organization in which student members represent the college at internal and external events, all with the goal of sharing their Peirce experience with the rest of the community and serving as mentors and ambassadors of higher education. A true ambassador of learning, Daria believes that time is of essence and if your dream is to complete your college degree, even at 63 years young it is the right time to get started.

Thank you, Daria for all your wisdom. And a special congratulations is in order for receiving the W.W. Smith Scholarship for 2010-2011. We welcome you back to Peirce College with open arms, and wish you the best as you continue on towards your bachelor’s degree!