SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (May 24, 2007) – When 95-year-old Nola Ochs graduated from the Fort Hays State University in Kansas earlier this month, she broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest college graduate. Her next goal? “To be a storyteller on a cruise ship.”
In June, she’ll get her wish as she will regale passengers aboard Crown Princess with tales from her many years of Kansas farm life, and how she was inspired to pursue her goal of earning a college degree.
“When we heard Nola’s remarkable story, we knew we had to invite her on board as a special guest lecturer,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ senior vice president of customer service and sales. “We love to bring on interesting people who will enrich our passengers’ lives. Nola has obviously been a great inspiration to those who’ve met her and we think she will be to our passengers as well.”
Ochs will cruise aboard Crown Princess’ June 17 sailing, traveling with her granddaughter Alexandra, who graduated in the same class as her grandmother. Appearing as part of Princess’ acclaimed Scholarship@Sea program, Ochs will participate in a question and answer session with the cruise director and take audience questions. She’ll share her many life experiences and memories of the many changes she’s seen in a life that spans nearly a century – from her beginnings in a house with no running water or electricity when horse-and-buggy travel was common, to the modern-day world of computers and air travel.
A history major, Ochs has garnered a great deal of attention for her record-breaking feat, appearing on many network news broadcasts and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” She took her first teacher’s college course in 1930, but it wasn’t until 1972 that she began taking occasional community college courses after the death of her husband. But the thirst for learning grew until last year when she moved 100 miles away from home to finish her bachelor’s degree at Fort Hayes.
Ochs will traveling even farther from her Kansas home when she sails on Crown Princess’ roundtrip Eastern Caribbean cruise, departing from New York’s Brooklyn terminal and calling on Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.
Princess’ innovative ScholarShip@Sea program offers a variety of enriching “edu-tainment” courses in which guest lecturers and shipboard experts present courses on a variety of topics, including cooking, visual arts, computer skills, photography and pottery. Passengers can choose from approximately 20 courses per voyage in subjects such as scrapbooking, Italian cooking, ceramics or pottery, digital travel photography, web page design, or watercolor techniques. In addition, guest speakers may present courses on additional topics, such as destinations, history, arts and world affairs.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.