May. 12, 2013
By Gregory Childress
CHAPEL HILL --
There were plenty of popular graduates and moms at Sunday’s commencement at UNC.
But none captured as much attention as 87-year-old Joan Hunter of Phoenix, who received a bachelor’s degree from UNC after beginning the course work 65 years ago.
Hunter was supposed to graduate in 1947 with her husband, but was struck with appendicitis with six weeks of class to go. She was also pregnant at the time and planned to complete the remaining three credit hours needed for her degree by correspondence, but never got around to it.
She took an online course at Arizona State University titled “The Study of Elvis” that traces the cultural and social influence of Elvis Presley and earned an A-minus to receive the three credits she needed.
“I’m sure my dad will be pleased after spending four years of paying for me for four years of college and missing it by three [credit hours],” Hunter quipped during an impromptu news conference shortly after the graduation ceremony.
Hunter said she was compelled by family members to earn the three credits needed for her degree.
When she decided to take the class, Hunter said that she didn’t even have a computer. So, she borrowed one.
She chose the class on Elvis, she said, because it “looked about as easy as any of them.”