Oldest Undergrad in Known ASU History to Graduate Saturday

Jeanie and Rev Bob Graetz
[Dallas , TX – May 6th, 2015 ]

Jeanie Graetz, a civil right’s pioneer who survived two Ku Klux Klan dynamite bomb blasts (wife and working partner of the Rev. Bob Graetz) will receive her bachelor’s degree in elementary education on Saturday, and at 85 years-old, she will be the oldest person to receive an undergraduate degree in the history of Alabama State University.

Five generations of her family (which includes seven children, 26 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and her first great-great grandchild) will be present to see her walk down the aisle to receive her bachelor’s degree from ASU President Gwendolyn E. Boyd, Graetz said.

“I just want to be an elementary school  teacher and help children learn to read and love the written word,” Graetz said. “I can think of no better way to spend my life than enabling a child to read well and by so doing, allow it to enjoy the many privileges that reading allows us,” she said.

“Plus, it is a blessing to me to so around so many wonderful and enthusiastic young children, which will help keep me in a young frame of mind, too,” Graetz said with a smile.

Jeanie Graetz and her husband Robert (a Lutheran minister) are famous and nationally acclaimed civil right’s pioneers, who were among the few white residents of Montgomery who openly and actively supported the civil rights movement, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 with Rosa Park’s arrest. Their home was bombed twice by the Ku Klux Klan (while they were in it) for their outspoken, peaceful efforts of racial equality and social justice.

On Saturday (May 9), David L Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America (HMA), will deliver the keynote address at the University’s spring commencement ceremony, which begins at 9:45 a.m. (CST) at ASU’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
 This year’s graduation marks ASU’s 291st Commencement Exercise.


Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.