74-year-old grandmother graduates from college alongside granddaughter

Pat Ormond and granddaughter Melody Ormond both graduated Nov. 20 from from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Pat earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Melody earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. (Photo credit: Provided / UTC

A grandmother graduated alongside her granddaughter from a university in Tennessee, supporting each other along the way and creating a memory the two of them will certainly cherish forever.

Pat Ormond, who turned 75 this month, graduated on Nov. 20 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Her 22-year-old granddaughter, Melody Ormond, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the university said.

Pat, described as a “low-key force of nature,” had spent most of her adult life working in accounting while raising her children and grandchildren and had settled into retirement. In the late 1970s, she took an accounting course at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. She left after one semester and moved to Chattanooga, where she worked at local accounting firms, according to the university. 

Over the next two decades, Pat took a “few courses here and there” at the university while simultaneously raising kids and working full-time, but never finished her degree.

“The money for the classes had to be used for classes only after living expenses and the children's expenses were taken care of. This meant there was very little left for my education,” Pat said in a news release.

After retirement, Pat said she became somewhat of a “homebody,” which wasn’t her normal speed. Her family pushed for her to finish school — and she enrolled at UTC in 2017. 

Grandmother and granddaughter had always planned to graduate together, which meant that Pat would need to take five courses per semester, plus labs, to do it, the university said. 

Pat chose anthropology because she’s “always loved archaeology and that was my prime anthropology push.”

“I always brag since she started going to school with me,” Melody said in the news release. “I’ve told people, like every class, all my friends, ‘Oh, Nana, she goes to school, my Nana, my Nana, did you hear that? And everybody’s always like, ‘Oh wow, that’s so cool.’ She knocked it out of the park.”

Pat graduated with a 3.79-grade point average and is a member of the Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society. Melody graduated with a 3.4 GPA.

The pair received their degrees during the same commencement ceremony on the university’s Chamberlain Field.

Three generations have now earned degrees from the university, as Pat’s daughter, Darla Ormond, also graduated from UTC in 1994 with a degree in special education, the school said.

RELATED: It wasn’t all bad: Here are 20 good things that happened in 2020

This story was reported from Cincinnati.