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65-Year-Old Graduate Embarks on New Career

Virginia Kathaleen “Kathy” Wills isn’t your typical UAMS graduate.

The College of Health Professions student earned her bachelor of science in health information administration in fall 2016 and celebrated that achievement during commencement in May 2017.

At 65, Wills was the oldest UAMS graduate this year, according to the registrar’s office.

So at a time when many of her peers might be considering retirement, Wills is embarking on a new career.

Wills said she was drawn to health information administration after being the head of a medical records department in a nursing home.

“I wanted to increase my knowledge of the field so that I could do my job properly,” she said. “Also, after a career as a licensed practical nurse, my back and my feet were causing me problems. This degree allows me to remain in the medical field doing work that is much easier on my body.”

Wills said she didn’t feel any different from the younger students at UAMS when she was going through the program; however, she likes the idea that older students may be inspired by her achievements.

“I really hope that my story helps others to realize that they are never too old to learn,” she said. “My philosophy is that the day I quit learning will be the day I die.”

Her advice for anyone considering returning to school after years in the workforce is “just do it. Follow your dreams.”

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