Violet Edwards '22, Age 96, Earns Degree from Mercy College

Meet Violet Edwards '22, Mercy's newest and oldest graduate

Commencement always generates a lot of pride for graduates and their families – but the feeling was especially fierce this year in Parkland, Florida, as Violet Edwards ’22, age 96, earned her Associate of Science degree from Mercy College. Edwards is the oldest black American to receive a college degree, and the fifth oldest person in the world to do so. Like so many of our students, she had started a college journey, but put it on pause to help support her family. She came to Mercy many years later, and with the help of family Edwards not only achieved her degree but mastered the process of taking courses online required to get there. 

In a surprise commencement ceremony held at her retirement community, Aston Gardens, Mercy College President Tim Hall - via Zoom - conferred her degree, her PACT Mentor Kathyria Feliciano Cosme presented Violet with an official diploma, and the Jamaican Consul General for Florida Oliver Mair read a decree in her honor. Her family was also in attendance, including daughter Christine, who said she had “the best mom in the world.”