How Jackie Bezos graduated at 40: son Jeff Bezos shares his mother's incredible story of grit

Jeff Bezos shared a video clip of his mother’s speech on Twitter where she shares her story and how she fulfilled a long-held dream of graduating from college.

13th Jun 2019
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Jeff Bezos, Founder, Chairman, CEO, and President of Amazon and the world’s richest man recently shared the incredible story of his mother on Twitter using #grit.


Along with a video of his mother, Jackie Bezos sharing her story standing at the podium, Jeff Bezos wrote, “My mom’s incredible story. Wow. So grateful. So proud. #Grit.”


Jeff Bezos

Jackie Bezos with her son Jeff Bezos


Jeff’s mother, Jackie is the President and Co-Founder of the Bezos Family Foundation. She was speaking at the Cambridge College 47th Commencement.


Jeff recorded a short video of her commencement speech where she speaks about how she was pregnant at the age of 17 and the challenges she had to overcome to finish high school.


She shared in her commencement speech:


“In 1964 I was two weeks past my 17th birthday and a junior in high school when I gave birth to my first son first son, Jeff. Initially I was told by my school administrators that I wouldn’t be allowed to finish high school. It didn’t make any sense to me so I pushed back and I kept on pushing back. And eventually the school relented, they would allow me to come back to school but there would be conditions. I want to share those conditions with you. Condition one, I had to arrive and depart from school within five minutes of the starting and finishing bells. Condition two, I could not talk to other students. Condition three, I couldn’t eat lunch in the cafeteria. Condition four, I was told I wouldn’t be allowed to walk across the stage with my classmates to get my diploma. I accepted their conditions and finished high school.”


Other than the Bezos Foundation, Jackie also serves on the board of directors for organisations such as the Character Lab, and the American Museum of Natural History. Jackie also went onto share how she completed her graduation at the age of 40 and how happy she was to see an old special dream come true.


“But my dream of graduating from college was put on hold during that period. But eventually we settled in New Jersey long enough that I allowed my dream of finishing off college off the shelf where it had been placed decades before. Finally after delays and setbacks, I feasted at the table of higher education and boy did I feast. I was relentless. I devoured my classes. When I graduated from the class of St. Elizabeth at the age of 40 I had never been more proud of myself. I felt 10 feet tall and that is a gain of five feet. So that’s a pretty big gain from graduation. When I was finally given the opportunity to walk across the stage to get my diploma, the loudest cheers came from my family.”


Jackie’s speech is a reminder to all women to never ever give up on their dreams.





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