Bossier City resident earns degree 43 years after leaving Northwestern State

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NATCHITOCHES – For more than 40 years Lynda “Jane” Pippen Timms has had some unfinished business she has wanted to take care of.

Timms, a resident of Bossier City, attended Northwestern State from 1969 until 1972, but couldn’t complete her degree.  She checked one goal off her bucket list as she completed a bachelor’s degree in general studies this week.

Lynda “Jane” Pippen Timms
Lynda “Jane” Pippen Timms

“I left in 1972 to get married,” said Timms. “Then we began a family and life evolved as so much was going on. My husband and I had three children and wanted to give them my best and I knew I couldn’t work, raise them and take classes. I knew I had to do this. When I left, I knew I would come back someday.”

Timms retired from the Bossier Parish School System in 2010 and began working toward a general studies degree at Northwestern State that fall.

“For years, I kept saying I would go back and finish my degree and after a while, I know everyone didn’t take me seriously,” said Timms “I started talking to the staff at Northwestern to see what I needed to do to go back and finish.”

Her family has several ties to NSU. Her husband Mike Timms is a 1973 Northwestern graduate in business administration who was on the Demon baseball team as is her daughter Shannon Oliphint, a 2002 graduate in radiologic technology and son-in-law Troy Oliphint, a 1993 graduate in business administration.

Timms found out about 80 hours she had taken would apply toward a degree. She decided to pursue her degree online through eNSU, Northwestern State’s electronic campus.

“I am a reserved person so an online degree was right for me,” said Timms. “I thought I might be a bit intimidated going back into a traditional classroom and I really enjoyed online classes. I could not have had a better experience.”

As a recent retiree, Timms wanted to take classes at her own pace as she progressed towards a degree.

“I took six hours a semester,” she said. “We have six grandchildren and I wanted to be there to enjoy all their activities. I would set aside time each day to study and it fit into my schedule.”

Timms said her classes were enjoyable, but there was one big obstacle, math.

“The biggest problem was the math classes. I was really worried about them, but with some help from some great instructors I did well,” said Timms. “In fact, last week, I was able to help my granddaughter who is in the eighth grade with her math homework. A couple of days ago, I even dreamed about a math problem and solved it.”

Timms had high praise for the faculty she worked with and her advisor, Steve Hicks, executive director of academic advising services at NSU.

“Everyone at Northwestern has been so supportive and encouraging,” said Timms.