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06/16/14 4:51 pm Age: 1 year

Graduate Earns Second WWU Degree 75 Years After First


By: Rosa Jimenez

Pampaian Awarded Honorary Degree In History

Class of 2014 history graduates include Effie Pampaian, age 104.

Walla Walla University's oldest student ever received an honorary bachelor of arts degree in history at 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 and also family and friends attending the outdoor ceremony.

At age 104, in addition to the distinction of being WWU's oldest student, she is 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. She is always very engaged in the courses and routinely asks me for extra books to read."

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

See a broadcast news story about Pampaian:

Published June 16, 2014.

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