82-year-old woman to graduate with nursing degree from BYU-Idaho

82-year-old woman to graduate with nursing degree from BYU-Idaho

(Courtesy of Lisa Reddington)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mae Rudd has been working as a nurse for most of her life, but she wanted to make it official.

Rudd, now 82, received her nursing certificate in the late 1950s, at the time when there wasn't a need for formal education. There was such a high demand that nurses were able to learn on the job.

According to her daughter, Lisa Reddington, Rudd went to school during the day then worked at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, at night. She often worked full time while raising seven children, who later gave her 25 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. Not until she was 76 years old did she decide it was time to retire.

While ready to put her career behind her, things changed in 2013 when her husband died. It was then she decided to accomplish a lifelong goal and started taking online classes to earn her bachelor's degree in nursing.

"My mom decided that it was now or never," Reddington wrote in an email to KSL and the Deseret News. "She has always loved education and believed that anything learned here on Earth will be to her benefit in the life to come."

Like any new college student, Rudd had her concerns, and her journey was not without challenges. She moved to Rexburg, Idaho, to be with family and health issues set back her expected graduation date. Now, with her journey college coming to an end, she has persevered and her daughter said her high grades are evidence that she "rocked it."

With all of her coursework completed, Rudd was expected to graduate in April and bring her family together to celebrate. However, with the worldwide coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay at home, that won't be possible.

"Kind of ironic that this year, as she is anticipating her graduation, that the world again is finding themselves short of health care workers and making exceptions to graduation requirements to bring on more workers," Reddington wrote.

The silver lining of Rudd's story is while many of us feel stuck or like we're missing out, there is time to accomplish everything life has to offer. Much like her path to education, we are being faced with obstacles that seem too challenging to overcome. But, with determination and the willingness to accept what we cannot control, we can conquer every hurdle, even if the end result doesn't look like what we had planned.

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Jen Riess is the weekend and evening content producer for KSL.com. She also covers breaking news and in her free time loves being with her dogs and cheering on the Cleveland Browns.


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