72-year-old woman graduates from Drury University

Many college graduates are gracing the stage as they accept their diplomas this weekend.
Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 6:30 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2021 at 3:32 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many college graduates are gracing the stage as they accept their diplomas this weekend.

Most graduates are in their early 20s when they complete their college degree program, but Susan Gerard didn’t even start until she was in her late 60s. She told KY3 of the obstacles she has faced and how her faith helped her graduate with a degree in music therapy.

Sue Gerard is a mother, grandmother, and now a college graduate. After a seven-year battle with mental illness and having to heal from a car crash, she decided she wanted to take the time to learn something new.

“It was there that I decided that I should take a class or two because I’m not going to be able to walk again,” said Gerard. “I’m not going to be able to do much, maybe I should just take a class.”

An academic advisor suggested that Sue try the therapy program.

“When she described it, I knew that’s my thing. I’ve been church pianist, I’ve been a musician, I even made a record when I was young. Music is my thing,” said Gerard.

While Sue isn’t a traditional college student, she has made an impact on campus.

“That gift of intergenerational connection is so powerful,” said Drury University Chaplain Peter Browning.

Sue has used her story and life experience to help other students understand different perspectives in order to serve the community.

“It’s really about using your talents for God, that’s it,” said Gerard. “I’m not a performer. Music therapists are not performers. They are people that are there to bless you and help you through your painful times.”

Sue’s story serves as an inspiration to all students, but shows you’re never too old to follow your dreams.

“Getting an education is not simply about advancing one’s own life possibilities, but ultimately at its best, education is going to be able to liberate people to make contributions to others,” said Browning.

Sue says that she credits her faith for helping her get to this point.

“I never expected to finish, but I took baby steps,” said Gerard. “I’m encouraging you, take the first step, take the second step and before you know it you will have completed a great journey.”

Sue hopes to work as a music therapist in a hospice center or at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners.

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