WCU Presents Copy of Diploma to 105-Year-old Mississippi Woman's College Alumni
Amite County resident Mildred Belle Martin Barron, the oldest living graduate of Mississippi Woman’s College, which is now William Carey University, celebrated her 105th birthday on January 2 in Summit. For her birthday, WCU presented Mildred with a framed copy of her diploma from MWC, to replace the original one that burned in a house fire in 1936.
“Although her daughters, Cherrie and Patty, had prepared her for a guest, Mildred did not realize the purpose of my visit,” said Cindy Cofield, alumni director for WCU. “When I presented the 1929 MWC diploma, her eyes filled up with tears of happiness.”
Cindy brought yearbooks from Mrs. Barron’s days at MWC and watched in delight as she reminisced about her college years, fondly remembering some classmates and professors. A double major in history and English, Mildred taught high school English in Oak Vale, Fernwood, Summit, and East Fork following her graduation from MWC. After a 20-year absence from the classroom to raise her children, she returned to teaching at Liberty High School from 1959 until her retirement in 1972, a total of 24 years of teaching in the public school system.
After looking through yearbooks, Mildred’s daughter Cherrie read a birthday greeting from Dr. Tommy King, president of WCU. She declared with a smile, “105! I didn’t realize I was that old.” Cindy then played the piano as she and Mildred sang the MWC Alma Mater. Trish Jenkins, the WCU alumna who initiated the meeting, also attended the presentation.
“This will be one of my most treasured experiences as alumni director,” Cindy said.