Jamaican American Violet Edwards will become the oldest African American to receive a college degree at 96 years and 263 days. Mercy College, New York will present the diploma to Violet on Saturday, June 25 at 11:00 a.m. Besides being the oldest African-American violet, it is the 5e oldest person in the world to graduate. Admittedly, she is the oldest person in Florida to have earned a degree.
Violet Edwards was born on October 5, 1925, in Kensington in the parish of Portland, Jamaica. She was the youngest of 3 children and has always been an avid reader and curious child. She excelled in school and became the first in her village to attend Happy Grove High School on a full scholarship. It was during World War II, and she remembers many sacrifices to get basic school supplies. She then passed her senior Cambridge exams, now known as the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, which were required to pursue higher education. This was before the age of the internet and exams had to be shipped to England to be graded, as you can imagine the students feared that the ship carrying these exams would become a casualty of war. Fortunately, Violet’s exam went well in England and returned, bringing the good news that she had passed.
Violet has spent much of her time volunteering in Jamaica and the United States. In Jamaica, she was active on the Portland Festival Committee, the Disaster Preparedness Committee, and helped start a credit union that still exists today. In the United States, she started and served as president of a neighborhood association in New York City which was recognized by the city’s then-mayor for her achievements. She was and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. She gives generously of her time and always enjoys cooking and cooking for her friends and family.
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However, the money was not available to pursue higher education, so Violet entered the workforce. She had a successful career in the Jamaican Postal Service and quickly rose through the ranks to become the first female Regional Inspector appointed, a position that placed her in a supervisory role in charge of part of the Jamaican post offices. ‘island. She retired and moved her family to the United States to pursue better opportunities.
Violet focused on family and got her daughter through medical school. Violet Edwards’ daughter is Christine Edwards, MD, FACOG, Medical Director, Florida Perinatal Center, LLC. Once this goal was achieved, she decided to go to college to continue her education while working full time. Again, financial hurdles intervened and she was unable to achieve her goals, reluctantly leaving school 1 year short of achieving her goal of earning a bachelor’s degree. She spent the next few years helping her daughter establish her medical practice, raising her grandchildren, and recently chose to return to college to achieve her goal before celebrating her centenary. A phone call, however, revealed that his previous school, The College of New Rochelle, had gone out of business the previous year. Mercy College in New York had become the custodian of student records. So she went to Mercy after being accepted as a transfer student. Unfortunately, of her 84 credits earned at the College of New Rochelle, Violet was unable to transfer all of her prior college credits. Therefore, she had to settle for an associate of science degree, which she earned from Mercy College in New York with top honors with a 4.0 grade point average.