72-year-old grandmother graduates from UNM, named valedictorian | KOB 4

72-year-old grandmother graduates from UNM, named valedictorian

Casey Torres
May 12, 2019 10:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 72-year-old grandmother made her family proud when she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from UNM Saturday. To top it of, Rigina Wright, was also the Valedictorian with a 4.067 GPA.


Wright said she attended UNM back in 1965 when she was 18 years old, but she wasn’t ready to take on the work.

She dropped out 3 years later with a GPA lower than 2.0, but she said it was still a good experience.

Wright got married and had her daughter Anndee. However, Wright did receive her associate’s degree as a registered nurse.

But when she retired, she lost the love of her life.

“My husband was really ill at the time, and he has since passed away. And then I had some health issues, and we kind of just worked through that too,” she said. “And then I just got into this mindset and said ‘This is enough. I am done with that, and you need to move forward’. And that’s what life is, it’s moving forward.”

Her graduation was a proud but ironic moment for her daughter.

“It was funny, being at graduation. There were so many moms who are so proud of their children. And I’m a child who’s so proud of their mom on Mother’s Day with her graduating,” said Anndee Wright Brown.

The graduate said she’s grateful UNM is a school that welcomes anybody to learn. She said she never felt out of place. Everyone helped her out.

Wright gave a speech in front of her class. She said she was nervous because it was one of her biggest fears.

She gave them advice to keep on going, just like she hopes her great-granddaughter will do one day.

“I plan to see my great-granddaughter graduate as a Lobo in 21 years from now. Class of 2040,” Wright said in her speech.


Casey Torres

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