On Dec. 2, the oldest student to earn a degree within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, Marguerite (Midge) Shotwell, turned 100-years-old, becoming one of the oldest living CALS alumni.
Shotwell returned to higher education at the age of 81 in 2002 to complete a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN), specializing in dietetics, after more than half a century.
During her senior year in 1941, Shotwell left Michigan State University to travel with her husband, Eldon, to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Eldon trained for World War II and became a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, serving for five and a half years.
As their family grew and time passed, life unfolded, creating obstacles for her to complete her degree. Shotwell regretted never finishing her degree but knew this was a regret she could resolve. When her beloved aunt passed, someone who had helped her financially to attend college in the first place, Shotwell decided the best way to honor her aunt was to complete her degree.
CALS faculty and staff worked with Shotwell to sort through her old transcripts and create a program plan for her to follow. On May 2, 2003, Shotwell graduated, finally earning her long-awaited honor, and even filled an entire section of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center with her eager supporters.
“While I never had the pleasure of having Midge in one of my nutrition classes, she was certainly well known to everyone in the FSHN department,” said CALS Dean and FSHN Professor Elaine Turner. “She had to dig deep to catch up on advances in biochemistry, for example, in order to succeed in the upper-level nutrition courses. And she did it, inspiring students, faculty and staff along the way to never let go of our dreams.”
Shotwell is a very proud Gator alumnae, and CALS is extremely proud to have her in the CALS family.
We would like to wish Midge a happy birthday!