Age is just a number: 81-year-old graduates from Alabama A&M, inspires others

Bulldogs have something else to cheer for going into Classic week

Graduating college at 81 years old

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We are three days away from the Magic City Classic at Legion Field and for one Alabama A&M graduate, she believes she’s giving the Bulldogs something to cheer about before her team hits the field.

81-year-old Donzella Washington has many titles in her life. She’s a mother, a foster parent, and now a college graduate.

“That’s exciting. To be 81 and to have come this far,” said Donzella Washington.

Washington, who’s from California and now lives in Fultondale, never thought she was smart enough to go to college. After working most her life, she decided to challenge herself and try at 73-years-old.

“I started off with just one class a semester and then when I saw I was doing well in one class, I upped it to two classes,” she said.

Washington started her college journey in 2013 at Lawson State and after eight years in the classroom, she now has an Associates in Social Work from Lawson State and a Bachelors from Alabama A&M.

“It was exciting to graduate in December. I want to inspire people and know that age is just a number. It’s the desire in yourself to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish,” Washington said.

Her motivation at 81-years-old? She says it comes from her late husband Jass Washington, who always encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

Washington is now the oldest undergraduate to ever graduate from Alabama A&M. Who is she cheering for on Saturday for the Magic City Classic? She says everyone and anyone who’s trying to graduate from college no matter their age.

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