Leona Waldow of Madras was surprised to hear her name announced June 14, while she was attending granddaughter Raelynn Waldow's graduation at Western Oregon University.
The distinction was due to the fact that Leona, now age 95, had also graduated from WOU in 1931, when it was known as Oregon Normal School.
Granddaughter Raelynn, 27, was awarded a degree in social science and intends to go on to graduate school. During college, she had the extra challenge of being a single parent, and sitting in the stands with her grandmother was her 6-year-old daughter, Kennedy, (also the granddaughter of Ted and Val Viramonte of Madras).
Raelynn was elated to receive her degree, admitting it had been a long, hard journey. "I am thrilled. It took me five years to get through here," she said.
Raelynn grew up and attended school in Madras, graduating from Madras High School in 1993. Enrolling at Central Oregon Community College in 1999, she pursued an associate of arts degree, focusing on American Sign Language (ASL) and early childhood education, hoping to become an interpreter within the school system.
When the COCC program was reconfigured, eliminating ASL, Raelynn transferred to WOU in Monmouth for fall term of 2000 and changed her direction.
The criminal justice and psychology classes piqued her interest, so she focused her studies in these areas through a social science major, with a minor in forensic chemistry.
Combining these two fields, she plans to pursue a career in the juvenile justice system.
Besides attending classes, Raelynn held down part-time jobs as an office assistant in the Office of Social Sciences and as a peer adviser for non-traditional students.
She was also involved in many school activities, including being Special Events Chair for the Student Activities Board, member of Phi Alpha Delta (law fraternity), Psi Chi (psychology honor society), Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal justice honor society), and was on the WOU Student Conduct Committee.