69-year-old mother of 11 earns JSU degree


Ethel T. Williams Singleton

Fall 2012 graduate Ethel Williams Singleton poses for photo with Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers, Ph.D.

At 69, Ethel T. Williams Singleton has fulfilled her long-term goal of earning a college degree.

“I got married and had children, so I couldn’t go to college,” said the mother of 11, including four sets of twins.

Singleton, is one of close to 550 graduates who participated in Jackson State University’s fall 2012 commencement on Dec. 8.

Along with raising her own children – who all hold bachelor’s or associate’s degrees – the Raymond, Miss., resident worked for years with children at the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Oakley Detention Center.

In the late 1980s, Singleton decided to go to college, and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice in 1991 from Hinds Community College. After retiring in 2004, she thought about getting a bachelor’s degree, and returned to the classroom in 2010 at Jackson State University.

DSC_7592Despite the age difference, Singleton said she felt comfortable with her fellow students. She especially loved listening to and participating in classroom conversations.

“Some of my classmates were younger than I was, but they treated me just like I was one of them,” she said. “They didn’t treat me like I was old or anything like that. It just felt good.”

During commencement, Singleton marched along with her classmates to receive her college degree.

“I am very proud of myself,” said the grandmother of more than 30. “I can tell my grandchildren, ‘Keep going until you reach your goals.’ If their grandmother can do it, they can do it.”

Singleton is not rushing back into the world of work with her degree in hand.

“I just wanted my degree,” she said. “It’s a milestone that I had always wanted to accomplish.”

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28 thoughts on “69-year-old mother of 11 earns JSU degree

  1. It’s the STAGE not the AGE! Age has it’s privileges and YOU are one of them!!! With age comes KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE, UNDERSTANDING, ENDURANCE, and APPRECIATION. You are indeed an inspiration to many.

  2. Congratulations, Mrs. Singleton! I am sure that you will serve as inspiration for others. Great job…you should be very proud! JSU Class of 2008 (MBA).

  3. I’m so happy for Mrs. Singleton, I to was an December 8, 2012 graduate of JSU, as well as a grandmother. This day in time there is nothing that you can’t accomplish, if only you decide to do it and go for it. This is a testimony to the young. Hats off to the ” GRANDMOTHERS “. G.C.Bryant

  4. Fantastic Mrs. Singleton. I, too, will be graduating from JSU in December, 2013 at age 61. After working a career of clerical work, I decided to return to school as well and earn my BS degree. You have encouraged me. Congratulations!!! Dorothy

  5. Congratulations to the best mom in the entire world. You did a great job raising us and we are so very proud of you for going back and getting your degree. We love you now and always and really hope you continue your education although you probably want ever go back to work. (Smile). Love your baby girl.

  6. I am SO proud of you, Mrs. Singleton, for this great accomplishment. It’s no such thing as, “never too late”, to fulfill a long time dream. Resources are there for anyone who has the mindset and put God first. Again, hats off to you. A dream without a goal is only a wish!

  7. What an inspiring story. I had the honor of sitting by many of her children at her graduation and they were gleaming with joy and happiness.

  8. Dear Cousin Ethel,
    You are definitely an inspiration and congratulations on your degree. The great lesson from this is to never give up, dreams can be accomplished.

  9. Congratulations Ms. Singleton!!! You are an inspiration to all mothers who didn’t get it the first time around to never give up, including me!! May God bless you!!

  10. U HAVE GIVEN ME THE COURAGE TO ENROLL AFTER BEING OUT OF SCHOOL FOR 25 YRS IN NEVER WENT TO COLLEGE BUT I ALWAYS WANTED TO BUT I WAS PREG AFTER HIGH SCHOOL & MARRIED, NOW MY KIDS ARE GROWN IN GONE, NOW ITS MY TIME TO GET MY 1ST DEGREE, THANKS MRS SINGLETON & GOD BLESS U

  11. Congratulations, Mrs. Ethel Singleton. I enjoyed having you as a student in my classroom. I consider it an honor to have “served” you. May God continue to bless you as you continue achieving goals. There are more achievements for you. You cannot stop now!

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