ISU Headlines

89-year-old Burley woman awarded ISU associate degree

Posted May 10, 2007

 The Idaho State University 103rd spring commencement exercises are scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, but ISU officials started early granting degrees in eastern Idaho by making a special trip to Burley to award a degree to 89-year-old Blanche Gail Peck Dayley .

It took Dayley 72 years to be awarded her Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from ISU.

“I’m very, very happy to have completed what I started and it is all worth it,” Dayley said, after she was presented her diploma on Friday, May 4, at the Highland Estates in Burley.

She received her degree at a small ceremony attended by about 20 family members from the Burley area, Nampa, Boise and Provo, Utah. ISU administrators attending were Alan Frantz, PhD, interim director of ISU Registration and Records, and Maureen Brandon, PhD, associate dean of the ISU College of Arts and Sciences, who traveled from Pocatello. The latter two awarded her the diploma during the special ceremony.

Originally, Dayley had planned to attend ISU spring commencement ceremonies in Pocatello on May 12. However, she injured herself last fall and moved into an assisted living facility, and the trip to Pocatello would have been too arduous. Thus, ISU administrators and her family members decided to bring a graduation ceremony to her.

In attendance were several of her seven children, including her son K. Newell Dayley, PhD, the associate academic vice president at Brigham Young University – Provo. It was Newell Dayley who last August wrote a letter to ISU’s Frantz, inquiring if his mother had enough credits to receive a bachelor’s degree from ISU, one of her lifelong goals. She didn’t, but she had more than enough to receive an associate degree.

Blanche had taken classes from ISU and its previous incarnations off and on beginning in 1935. She took classes in 1965, 1977-81 and in 2000. She was a resident of Oakley prior to her accident and spent many years in the Minidoka and Cassia county schools working as an aide and as a teaching assistant. Schools she worked at included

Minico High School in Rupertl, Southwest Elementary School in Burley and Mountain View Elementary School in Oakley.

“She just had a lifelong love of learning and this fulfills her goal of completing a college degree,” K. Newell Dayley said. “It’s a unique accomplishment. She has been a constant source of encouragement to me and many others to get more and more education. It’s appropriate she is now being recognized.”

Both Newell and Blanche Dayley expressed their appreciation for the special graduation ceremony.

“I really appreciate all of you coming,” Blanche Dayley said. “I was amazed. I didn’t have any idea that this many of my family and officials from ISU would come.”

Her son noted, “It has been such a pleasure to be here on this occasion. When I first corresponded (with Frantz) I had no idea this could ever take place.”

Besides bringing her diploma, the ISU administrators gave Dayley some ISU mementos and showed her pictures of herself in the 1936 edition of the “Wickiup,” ISU’s former student yearbook.