Yasuko Fujii is an 80-year-old grandmother, mother, and now a San Diego State graduate. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in social sciences back in December but participated in the commencement ceremony held Friday.
Fujii was originally enrolled at San Jose State University in the 1960s but put her college career on hold to raise her family. She returned to college about 10 years ago after her husband passed away. Now, with her cap and gown on and colorful leis, Fujii is ready to walk across that stage.
“My mother always encouraged me to finish school,” said Fujii.
This time around she had her daughter help her sign up for school and apply for financial aid like any other college student.
“I appreciate that my daughter was there and pushed me to get this done,” said Fujii.
Sociology Professor Nancy Federman, Ph.D., taught Fujii and said she is the oldest graduating student she has ever taught.
“I thought she was my age, I had no idea. I rarely had anyone close to my age,” said Federman.
Fujii said it was intimidating being surrounded by so many young students, but her granddaughter helped her out with the technology she needed for class.
“Amazing how technology has advanced, it’s hard to keep up,” said Fujii.
Federman said she enjoyed teaching her and that she always learned from her.
“How do you describe someone who is a bright and shining star who is 80 years old,” said Federman. “She always sat in the front row and would always talk to other students and help them.”
Now, Fujii hopes to write her resume and apply for a job.
Her advice to others is that it’s never too late to graduate.
“I want to tell people who haven’t finished their education that they can go back and finish at any age,” said Fujii.