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Texas A&M graduation ceremonies are taking place this weekend, but today marked a special milestone for one veterinary graduate.
"Today is such a momentous occasion for us and our family and mom," says daughter, Elizabeth Ryan.
Fifty-seven-year-old Pat Ryan's dream has been to become a veterinarian. Her love of caring for animals started almost 30 years ago.
"I volunteered at the vet clinic at the University of Pennsylvania for awhile and decided I really wanted to try vet medicine," says Ryan.
But Ryan's dream took a detour; two kids and a husband delayed her plans. She took on the role of mother and public relations on a corporate level. And when her kids entered college, she thought it would be a good time to pursue her 30 year old dream.
"When she said she wanted to go back, we were a little hesitant because it had been so long." says husband, Jeffrey Ryan.
And it didn't come without her fair share of struggles. She enrolled at A&M's vet school...attending classes during the week, and visiting her family back in Houston on the weekends. A cancer diagnosis almost delayed her plans for good, but Ryan wouldn't let it.
"I did come back. I was allowed to finish my program. So it took all together nearly 10 years to finish. It’s a life long dream and so if I can say anything to people who see this I would like to say not to give up on your dream," says Ryan.
Pat Ryan is the oldest person in Texas to ever graduate with a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She says determination and the love and support of her family is what pulled her through the hard times. Pat would like to open up her own practice, but right now she's looking forward to a break.
"I am going to have a vacation because I’ve been waiting for a vacation for a long time. Jeff and I are going to Mexico," says Ryan.