Graduate Earns Second WWU Degree 75 Years After First

July 15, 2014 | Rosa Jimenez

Walla Walla University's oldest student ever received an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree in history during the June 14 commencement ceremony. Effie Pampaian, a 1939 WWU graduate, has been attending university classes since 1999.

University president John McVay presented Pampaian with a diploma, congratulating her in front of an audience of more than 400 fellow graduates plus family and friends attending the outdoor ceremony.

In addition to the distinction of being WWU's oldest student at age 104, she was also WWU's first female theology graduate.

Pampaian began taking classes soon after she retired in the Walla Walla Valley. Until the last few years, she even did the assignments and took the examinations. "The students love her, and she is a real inspiration to them and to me," says Greg Dodds, history professor. "Her love of learning is contagious."

Pampaian has taken an estimated 16 classes in history, nine classes in religion and a speech class.