Even a century of knowledge is not enough for 104 year-old Effie Pampaian who accepted an honorary degree this past weekend from Walla Walla University.
WALLA WALLA, WA – Even a century of knowledge is not enough for 104 year-old Effie Pampaian who accepted an honorary degree this past weekend from Walla Walla University.
Walking around the Walla Walla University campus you might meet some 20-something year old college students, if you are lucky you will run into the woman who gives new meaning to the term college “senior”.
"Oh Effie adds some sparkle to our campus life, she really does. She's a bit of a celebrity on campus. Students know her, point her out," explained university president John McVay.
"Effie is one of the most curious people I've ever met. She just wants to know things. She's actually told me that she's staying alive so she can learn more," said her professor and chair of the history and philosophy departments Gregory Dodds.
At 104 Pampaian says there is still more to be learned. For college students to take a class with a woman who has lived through WWI, the Great Depression, a Second World War and local historic moments that span a century is a gift in itself.
Professor Dodds asked her,"Why do you like taking classes here? Why do you keep doing it?"
Pampaian paused and thought very carefully before she answered the question.
"It helps me with helping other people and showing them how to do it so they'll be wonderful leaders someday even above anything that I could ever accomplish," she explained.
Her teachers say, for their students to see someone studying right along with them not just for college credits, but to expand their knowledge is one of the greatest inspirations for younger minds
“It's best when students are curious about learning, not just doing it for a grade and Effie has inspired them to do that," said Dodds.
It is for that reason Walla Walla University honored Pampaian with a special degree Sunday at their graduation ceremonies.
"I don't figure that friendship is anything cheap,” explained Pampaian. That is why she makes friends with as many people as she can. She explained it is a treasure that can stand the test of time.
"That's what keeps me going I think," (the friendships and the learning.) Before the semester is over she gives words of advice to her peers. "Be sure to get those right choices, so that after it’s all over there'll be no regrets."
Pampaian asked about her chances of advancing now that she has her Bachelor's degree. Her teachers joked that as long as she keeps learning, someday she could hope to earn her Masters degree or even a Doctorate. She said she would just stick to her history classes for now.