SAN DIEGO — An estimated 10,300 students are set to walk across the stage during San Diego State University's commencement ceremonies this weekend.
Among the thousands of graduating students at SDSU is one special graduate – 80-year-old Yasuko Fujii.
Fujii is a Japanese immigrant who came to the United States in the mid-1960s. She attended San Jose State University, but her college career was put hold to raise a family.
On Friday, after waiting nearly 60 years, Fujii walked across the graduating stage and received her bachelor’s degree in social sciences.
"I feel so great! [In the] back of my mind, [I] always wanted to finish,” she said.
Friday’s graduating was ten years in the making. After her husband passed away, Fujii began at Mesa College before transferring to SDSU two years ago.
It wasn't an easy road as she faced some challenges along the way, especially getting used to new technology.
Fujii’s granddaughter, Lisbon Zeigler, who was three-years-old when she started school, was instrumental helping her adapt to technology.
"She was great help and smart," said Fujii. "Anyone can do it. If I'm from a foreign country, the native people can do it. Never be too late," added Fujii.
"She would wake up at two in the morning. She would start studying and she would be out the door at seven in the morning. [She] Truly is an inspiration for everyone. If anyone was going to do it, it was going to be her," said Yuki Zeigler, her daughter.
Fujii’s professors were in awe of her motivation to want to learn everything.
“I had no idea that we were contemporaries because she would laugh at all my old jokes,” said Dr. Susan Federman, PhD., SDSU sociology lecturer.
At 80-years-old, Fujii was the oldest graduate at Friday’s SDSU’s 2019 commencement ceremony.
“Anything you put your mind to, you can accomplish,” she said.
Fujii said she plans to open her business.