Learning is Ageless

Published Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Juanita Brown

Juanita Brown receives master's degree at 75.

On Friday, May 17, 2013 Juanita Brown will be among Coppin State University’s graduating class of 2013.

Much like her collegiate counterparts, Brown has juggled numerous responsibilities while continuing her education. For her, that included dedicating countless hours to her studies, working a full-time job at Coppin Academy High School and successfully running a hosiery business.

However, unlike any of her classmates, Brown will be receiving her master’s degree in Adult and Family Counseling at the age of 75.

“I told the new president of the university, you better have security because it will take me two days to get off the stage,” Brown said giddily.

Brown’s road to the master’s began in 1975 when she began taking classes at Baltimore City Community College. After nine years, Brown graduated with an associate’s degree. In 1990, Brown began focusing on obtaining her bachelor’s degree at Coppin. But raising two boys, caring for her adopted daughter Lisa, who battled kidney failure and ultimately passed in 2008, and raising three nieces was not an easy feat. 

“I took a class every semester,” Brown firmly stated “but I was determined I was going to get my degree.”  

And in 2004, she did just that, receiving a degree in Management Science.

Now, just a few days shy of receiving her master’s degree, Brown can’t hide the enthusiasm.

“I am excited. I am so excited. I just can’t believe it. I am more excited about this master’s degree [because] I wasn’t going to go back for the winter but how can I stop if I’m working with kids and tell them what you start you must finish. “

At her day job, Brown’s achievement is motivation to the students who see her as everything from a counselor to a grandmother figure to a seamstress but most importantly, a hero.

“I have a passion for youth. I like connecting with the youth,” Brown adds. “It’s the idea that we as older people have something to contribute besides nagging and finding fault. But to let them know they are loved… Learning is ageless.”

During her experience at Coppin, Brown said she received lots of support from the Coppin faculty, especially Dr. Mary Wanza and Dr. Jacqueline Williams, as well as her younger classmates. She added that she appreciated not receiving preferential treatment because of her age because it challenged her to better understand technology as well as complete her 30-page paper on “The Advantages of Senior Citizens Learning and Staying Active.”

So, what’s next for the almost newly minted master’s degree recipient?

Change of career: No.

Pursing a doctoral degree: Maybe.

Turning a fabulous 76 years young later this year:  Absolutely.