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76-year-old becomes second-oldest CU Boulder graduate

The accomplishment has taken Rita Garson more than 50 years to complete.
Posted at 10:23 PM, May 17, 2023

BOULDER, Colo. — An Evergreen woman became the second-oldest University of Colorado Boulder graduate Thursday at 76 years old.

Rita Garson is a successful business owner, mother of three, a passionate horseback rider, and now holds a degree in sociology.

The accomplishment has taken Garson more than 50 years to complete. She would start college courses, but stop because life got in the way.

“People keep telling me I can’t do it, and I go, 'Watch me,'” she said.

What’s more impressive is Garson completed her degree even after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago.

“Before I had Parkinson's, I didn't have a problem with driving at night. I had more options open to me,” she said. “I had to take more online courses, which caused me to develop my computer skills. They're still not great, but better.”

She hopes her story encourages others to never stop pursuing their dreams.

“One of the things about Parkinson's that I would like to stress is not to give up. A lot of people let the diagnosis define them and they stop,” she said.

Rita has no plans to slow down, and her next challenge will be her real estate license.

“I am not going to stop,” she said.

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