75-year-old Rebecca Inge geared up for commencement ceremonies on May 8th at Shaw University, on what would be the conclusion to a 57-year journey.
Inge left her Stanford, Florida home in 1956 to pursue College degree at Shaw University in hopes of becoming a doctor due to her constantly being sick as a child. While there, she worked in the school’s cafeteria to assist with her tuition.
“I always dreamed of going to med school because I was sick a lot as a child. I dreamed of being a surgeon,” Inge said.
But her dreams of completing her education would come to a halt when Inge decided to get married and start a family. The turn of events lead Inge down several different career paths, including working as a safety instructor for Disney World.
“She put her life on hold so that I could finish my 21 years, all of my education, so that I could be successful today,” said her daughter, Marisa Ratliff Dunston, according to WRAL-TV.
Dunston, who is now retired and had long-standing career serving overseas in the U.S. Military, credits her mom’s sacrifice as the source of her accomplishments.
After the passing of Inge’s husband in 2015, she decided to move in with her daughter in Raleigh and once again enroll into Shaw University. A trip to the campus’s bookstore would give her a sign that she was on the right path. While in the store, Inges spotted a jersey with the number 65 across the chest. She said that was a huge confirmation for her due to 1965 being the year of her initial enrollment at Shaw.
Inge’s says that the staff in the enrollment office were in shock about her request to re-enroll.
“The lady looked at me and she said, ‘I don’t know if we got your records.’ And I said, ‘Then find them!”
Although the world has evolved with technology, Dunston vowed to help her mother with her scholastics.
“You gotta live ’til you die, so why not be happy doing something that makes you happy and get involved?” Inges said.
Shaw University is a private historically black university in North Carolina that specializes in liberal arts and social research.
Founded in 1865, Shaw is the oldest Black HBCU of the south and is affiliated with the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and is a member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Among many other accomplishments, Shaw is the first university to have a law school for the freed slaves in the United States, along with a school of pharmacy.