LEXINGTON, Ky. — Graduation is this weekend for the University of Kentucky, and for one student, her walk across the stage will be something she has dreamt of for decades.

What You Need To Know

  • UK graduation is this weekend

  • Dorothy Mae Barr-Moore is getting her BA at 71 years old 

  • Barr-Moore will get a degree in Liberal Studies 

  • She went back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic

Excitement doesn’t explain the emotions Dorothy Mae Barr-Moore is experiencing. 

“I almost feel like a 16-year-old girl giddy in her stomach, like on her first date,” Barr-Moore said.

That’s because at 71 years old, she’s fulfilling a lifelong dream. 

“I was a sharecropper’s granddaughter and my grandparents believed that farming was more important than education,” Barr-Moore said.

She’s always had a passion for learning. After getting her GED in 1972, she received a two-year scholarship to start her studies. 

“When I became a student over here and walking to campus with all my books on my back like a little young kid, and I went in 96-97,” Barr-Moore said.

But with life’s difficulties, Barr-Moore wasn’t able to finish her studies.

“I didn’t complete it because I’m a mother, a wife, and all those things, and they kind of take precedence over going to school,” Barr-Moore said.

Three of her four daughters, Barr-Moore said, received their Master’s degrees at the University of Kentucky. And having a special place in their hearts, Barr-Moore went back to school at the University of Kentucky during the pandemic. 

“With all of the technology, it was a lot of new stuff for me to learn and some things I just didn’t understand, but I’ve always remembered my daddy said, ‘If you ask questions you get answers,’” Barr-Moore said.

At graduation, her daughters will be by her side—just like she was for their big moments in life.

“I never wanted to put my desires on them, but I did want them to know that inside of you is something good,” she said. “So retain and get it out, and I am your cheerleader. So now they are my cheerleaders at this graduation because they realize I’ve supported them.”

Barr-Moore says majoring in Liberal Studies gives her an incentive to do more in the community, and hopes to encourage people to finish what they started, no matter how long that might take.

Dorothy will graduate on Saturday at Rupp Arena along with nearly 5,000 graduates.