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Intellect

82-year-old Hermine Horman finishes at home what she started at BYU 60 years ago

Oldest graduate will receive Bachelor of General Studies degree Aug. 14

When asked, “Will you be walking at graduation?” Hermine Horman, at age 82, answers with a smile, “Do you think I need a wheelchair?” A mother of seven children and a grandmother of 36, Hermine will be this year’s oldest graduate at Brigham Young University’s commencement ceremony at the Marriott Center on Thursday, Aug. 14.

Hermine, a resident of Sandy, Utah, completed the requirements of the Bachelor of General Studies degree with an emphasis in writing. The BGS program offers former BYU students who have been away for some time the opportunity to complete their degree from home through taking BYU Independent Study courses.

Hermine first attended BYU in the 1940s where she paid $45 for a full term’s tuition. At that time, she completed all the courses that were available in journalism and writing. After her first year, she was out of money and decided to work. Hermine made an enjoyable career in editing and publishing. She worked as an office manager at BYU for the vice president and as an editor for the Department of Religious Studies.

Writing is Hermine’s passion. She has written several books, poems, articles, and letters. She may be best known for her book, Century of Mormon Cookery, which has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Hermine’s children were excited when she again took up her studies a few years ago. Her son, who lives in Idaho Falls, called every Sunday to see how her courses were going and to encourage her. Her biggest support, though, is her husband of 51 years, Phares. Together they enjoyed discussing things she was learning.

“He was very involved in my schoolwork,” said Hermine. “He would read over papers and give feedback on assignments.”

Hermine has enjoyed her education. “I am a better writer by far,” Hermine said. “I have learned to write more critically and persuasively.”

The BGS program even taught Hermine new skills. “I am so thankful to learn how to use the computer. If I had decided not to finish my degree, I would not have learned these computer skills,” she said.

“She always wanted to complete her degree,” said Hermine’s daughter, April Widmer, of Highland, Utah. “This is a crowning jewel for her.”

April remembers from a young age learning English and writing from her mother, and she is a better writer because of her. April said, “Not only has she written a gazillion books, but this skill has passed on through three generations.” April’s daughter will soon be graduating from college where she majors in English and piano.

“Now that I finished my degree, I’m going to try to relax a bit,” said Hermine, “although I don’t know how to do that very well.” Hermine will continue her project of making each of her grandchildren a personalized, themed quilt. “This is something they can remember me by,” she said.

Hermine enjoys spending time with family, and her posterity will share in her joy as they will cheer as she walks across the stage, 60 years after she first started.

For more information on the Bachelor of General Studies degree, visit http://ce.byu.edu/bgs/.

Writer: Rob Hunt, BGS Coordinator

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