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Music to her ears

Anderson spun her thesis ideas of creating musical education programs that reach all students into a successful teaching career (she still has one piano student). Back then, one didn't need a master's degree to be a certified teacher, so her undergraduate credentials from Houghton College sufficed.

Kaiser helped Anderson finish up her thesis over this spring, mailing revisions back and forth since Anderson doesn't have a computer. In April, she traveled to Ithaca to defend it.

And on May 21, so many years after she started, Anderson was specially recognized from a class of 1,140 graduates for her achievement, and was met with applause and accolades all around.

Kaiser said Anderson's journey was inspirational for everyone at the school.

"It lifted everybody's spirits," he said. "We just had a wonderful time having her on campus."

Anderson described the entire experience as "exhilarating." She's just now settling back to visiting her grandchildren, quilting and traveling.

Though her whirlwind journey over the past few months has been notable for everyone involved, for Anderson the true story begins much earlier than in Ithaca in 1950. It started in a farmhouse in Knox, at her mother's side, as she practiced the piano.

"If I ever wrote a book, I'd dedicate it to her because that's what got me started," she said. "I've enjoyed every minute of it."

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