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Dream comes true for graduate…
Culpepper, 71, earns her college degree

By Staff
SHE MADE IT Clarence Culpepper adjusts the graduation cap for his wife, Mary, who graduated at the Meridian Campus of Mississippi State University on Saturday. Over the years, Clarence encouraged Mary to continue her education and she finally reached her goal. Photo by Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Dec. 16, 2001
Mission accomplished!
Mary Culpepper completed a 26-year quest Saturday when she walked across the stage and received her diploma at the Meridian Campus of Mississippi State University.
She is now, officially, a college graduate. She took her final exam Wednesday.
A secretary, she was born and raised in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where she graduated from high school in 1948. She married her husband, Clarence, who was in the highway construction business and, in 1953, moved to his hometown of Meridian.
Opportunity comes
Meridian Community College expanded in the early 1970s, and Culpepper decided to start taking classes in 1973. Two years later, she graduated from MCC with almost all A's.
As soon as she graduated from MCC, she became a student at Mississippi State University and started taking classes at the Meridian Campus. But then things started getting busy.
Keep learning
Culpepper said she often took classes with other women who did not have that type of support at home.
Clarence Culpepper said he always considered it important for people to continue their education and improve themselves, and that included his wife.
The Culpeppers planned from the beginning that their three children, Kay, Mary Kay and George, would all earn college degrees, and they did.
He added that he was very pleased that Mary has now finished her college education. "She worked hard and stayed after it," he said.
That's it
Mary insisted that her college days were over.
She said that she has learned a lot. Her favorite subjects were literature, while she hated math and especially algebra. During her college career, she learned how to work on computers, something that helped her in her career.
She enjoyed the friendships she made with fellow students.
And while her days as a college student are over, that's not to say she won't be around college life very long. She is employed at Meridian Community College as the secretary in the Broadcast Production Center.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at