92-year-old Midlands Tech grad: 'You can make it if you try, but you got to start'

Annie Dillard, 92, will make Midlands Technical College history as the oldest graduate. (WIS)
Annie Dillard, 92, will make Midlands Technical College history as the oldest graduate. (WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Midlands Technical College will celebrate graduates of all ages on Wednesday, May 9.

92-year-old Annie Dillard will be the oldest graduate at the ceremony. In fact, she is the oldest graduate in Midlands Technical College history.

Dillard will graduate on Wednesday with her associate's degree in Art. She will be the first person to walk across the stage and receive her degree.

Dillard was born and raised in Prosperity, SC. She later moved to Columbia and spoke with us about her life which included living through the Civil Rights era.

"I remember the 'colored' faucet and the 'white' faucet," she said.

Dillard says living through that time challenged her, but gave her strength to succeed. She still works as a cosmetologist in Columbia. She says she earned a diploma from Allen University in the 1960s to teach but chose to stay in the cosmetology business.

Dillard's advice to those who think it is too late to learn is simple: "You can make it if you try, but you got to start."

Dillard says she is going back to school to learn even more. Upon retirement, Dillard says she will use her new degree to work with her daughter, who is a doctor.

Aside from Dillard, those who attend MTC's graduation will also have the chance to honor graduates as young as 16 years old. Almost 50 Midlands high school students are receiving college degrees and certificates from MTC.

The commencement speaker is Major General John P. Johnson, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson.

Honorary Associate Degrees in Humane Letters will be awarded to community leaders Charles "Chuck" Beaman and Marion "Lex" Knox, Jr. The designation Humane Letters is used by colleges to recognize service to community, philanthropy, and achievements beneficial to fellow citizens.

The ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 9 at Colonial Life Arena at 7 p.m.

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