Kim Cotton, 48, started earning her UC Berkeley degree in the early 1990s. She withdrew in 1995, a few credits short of graduation, resigning herself, she said, to “live my life as a perpetual senior at UC Berkeley.”
But Cotton didn’t want to stay a senior. She said that getting her degree was “unfinished business,” a task that was eating at her, demanding to be completed.
On Saturday — 27 years after she first left Berkeley and 14 hours after she turned in her final paper — she crossed the stage at Berkeley’s winter commencement ceremony. Her name rang out in Haas Pavilion, recognition that she was now an American Studies graduate of the world’s top public research university.