At 103 years old, Mary Alkire, of Jacksonville, Ill., is Lincoln Land Community College’s oldest living alumna and a testament to the fact that one is never too old to learn, take classes or receive a degree. While it has been about 20 years since she took a class at LLCC, she recently received her graduation diploma from LLCC and a bouquet of flowers from the Alumni Association to commemorate the event.
It seems Alkire has a knack for research and learning. She was a genealogist for Alkire Genealogical Research and a past president and life member of the Jacksonville Area Genealogical and Historical Society.
Alkire started taking courses at LLCC during the spring semester of 1977 when she was 63 years old. Over the following 19 years, she took a variety of courses covering such topics as real estate, farm management, communication, psychology and computers.
To receive a diploma, students must file an application for graduation. In her pursuit of lifelong learning, Alkire had amassed more than 60 credit hours, which is enough to earn an associate degree in general education with an emphasis in liberal arts. However, during her time at LLCC, Alkire had not filed an application for graduation.
“When reviewing alumni lists, we discovered that Mrs. Alkire had earned enough credits to have received her diploma. We were impressed by her desire to continue her education over the years and wanted to honor and recognize her work and passion for lifelong learning,” says Joanie Rogers, office coordinator, LLCC Alumni Services.