99-Year-Old Graduates College After Nearly Seven Decades


BANGOR - A local woman was ready to graduate from Beal College more than 70 years ago, that was until a $5.00 transcript fee got in the way. Pushing her degree completion back much further.

Jessie Jones White enrolled at Beal College in 1939. Friday, 75 years later, she finally received her diploma.

A Belfast native, Jessie longed for an education, pursuing a degree in stenography and bookkeeping. So with $500 from her uncle, she set out to earn herself an honest living.

Struck with polio at just 18-months of age, Jessie has spent nearly all of her 99 years disabled, facing countless challenges.

Beal College President, Alan Stehle wanted to pay Jessie's balance on her account, and throw her a special graduation ceremony, recognizing her accomplishments, even if it is took more than seven decades to achieve.

Erin Thomas


Erin joined the ABC-7 and FOX Bangor news team in February 2012. She was born and raised in Presque Isle, Maine where she attended Presque Isle High School.  While in college Erin interned in the WVII news room before working as a Production Assistant.  In May of 2012, Erin received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maine, along with a minor in Anthropology.  When she's not out covering local news, Erin enjoys running, skiing, visiting with family and friends, and traveling around this beautiful state.  She is especially interested in outdoor adventure so if you have a story idea, send it her way!

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