Story Of This 105-Year-Old Woman Who Just Received A Master’s Degree From Stanford University Will Inspire You

Virginia Hislop finally walked the stage on June 16 to receive her master of arts in education.

Virginia Hislop
Virginia Hislop beams with joy at theGSE’s 2024 commencement ceremony after receiving her master of arts in education degree on Sunday, June 16.

Virginia Hislop, a 105-year-old woman has finally achieved her lifelong goal as she received her master’s degree from Standford University over 80 years after she began a program at the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).

When Hislop started the program in 1936, she had one goal in mind goal –get her bachelor’s of education, which she did in 1940, and obtain her master’s of education which she started directly after, however, life took a turn as the World War II soon started.

Just after completing her coursework and just before turning in her final thesis, her then-boyfriend George Hislop AB ’41, a GSE student in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), got called in to serve during World War II, prompting the pair to get married and Virginia Hislop to leave campus before graduating.

I thought it was one of the things I could pick up along the way if I needed it and I always enjoyed studying, so that wasn’t a great concern to me — and getting married was,” said Hislop, who was born in Palo Alto and resides in Yakima, Washington.

While navigating life with her family which consists of two kids, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, Ginnie Hislop also served on school and college boards in Washington State for decades.

83 years after leaving campus, Hislop returned to Stanford to complete what she started as she walked the stage on June 16 and received her master of arts in education.

“A fierce advocate for equity and the opportunity to learn … today we are proud to confer the master of arts in education to our 105-year-old graduate,” GSE Dean Daniel Schwartz said in a speech at the beginning of the GSE’s commencement ceremony.

Virginia Hislop receives her degree from Dean Daniel Schwartz