Grandma Green Completes UM Degree after 30-Year Break

There were quite a few cheers when Phyllis Green, of Oxford, walked across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in university studies during the University of Mississippi’s Commencement this summer.

Green, 59, graduated from Byhalia High School in 1977 and attended Northwest Community College in Senatobia for two years. She transferred to UM, majoring in education.

Life went in different directions, and she needed to work and care for her family, requiring her to stop her degree pursuit. 

She worked as a department manager at Walmart in Oxford for more than 20 years. She still felt the calling to teach, so she took a teacher’s assistant position at Bramlett Elementary School in Oxford in 2010.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery to remove the tumor, along with radiation treatment.

About 18 months ago, Green read about a local student who completed her college degree after many years out of school through the statewide Compete to Complete, or C2C, program. 

And the rest is history.

The purpose of the C2C program is to find adults in Mississippi who have some college coursework and encourage them to complete their degrees, with the goal of positively affecting the state’s economy.

The mother of two and grandmother of three, Green completed the C2C online form and quickly was contacted by UM’s C2C academic coach Audra Trnovec. After a review of her college transcripts, Green learned that she needed only one more course to complete her degree requirements: a math course.

Phyllis Green joined Rebecca Turner on Good Things to share the rest of her inspiring story.