Brescia University recently awarded an Associate of Arts Honoris Causa to its oldest known graduate, Cecelia “Dolly” Mischel Boarman, 102, during an Alumni Visit trip to Arizona. Formerly of Owensboro, now of Prescott, Arizona, Boarman was awarded the degree 47 years after completing her last class at then Brescia College.
A 1931 graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in Owensboro, Boarman began her studies at Brescia in 1957 at the age of 42, hoping to complete her degree in Education and simply for the love of learning. Dolly even attended classes alongside her daughter Jovita Boarman (Fine) who graduated from Brescia in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She taught full-time in the Catholic school system for 11 years, before retiring and serving as a substitute teacher for several years following.
Tracy Naylor, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Brescia, learned about Dolly’s studies in talking with Fine regarding their upcoming visit.
“When Jovita told me that her mother lived with her and had also attended Brescia, I started doing the math in my head. I knew Jovita graduated in 1966 so this must be a really special connection,” said Naylor. “When she said she was 102, I was truly at a loss for words. I immediately checked her transcripts, calculated her credits, and asked Sr. Cheryl Clemons, Vice President for Academic Affairs, if there was any way I could deliver a diploma during my visit. She was immediately willing and we were able to pull off a very nice surprise. It was one of the best things I’ve had the opportunity during my career.”
“I am so thrilled to finally get a diploma after all these years,” said Dolly. “Thank you, to Tracy. And thank you to Brescia.”
This degree is the first of many to be handed out in 2016, commencement will be May 14th at 10 am at the RiverPark Center in downtown Owensboro.