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LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell University's oldest living graduate, Ellen Peterson Williams, died on Wednesday, April 9. She was 108.

Williams graduated from Bucknell in 1919 and was certified to teach art education and music. She worked 42 years in Pennsylvania school districts as a music teacher.

To mark the occasion of her 108th birthday in October, a group of Bucknell students, alumni and Office of Alumni Relations staffers surprised Williams with a birthday cake and greetings at her Williamsport, Pa., nursing home.

Presidential proclamation
In addition to a personal invitation to attend the University's annual Christmas Candlelight Service at Rooke Chapel in December, Williams also was presented with a proclamation from Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell, verifying her as the University's oldest living alumna, and a scarf illustrated with a Bucknell campus scene.

Her advice to her undergraduate visitors, who serenaded her with the University's alma mater and a chorus of "Happy Birthday," was to "stay young."

Williams still proudly wore the medallion she had been given at her 1919 graduation.

Life-long Republican
According to an obituary in the Williamsport, Pa., Sun-Gazette,
Williams loved to quote verses from the Bible and was an inspiration to many of her students as evidenced by the many cards, letters and visits she still received thanking her. She was a life-long Republican, voting in every election since 1920.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted April 11, 2008


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