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Laverne Robertson Davis, 63-year-old singer will receive her degree

By Danielle Dreilinger, | The Times-Picayune | Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune

Dillard University choir president LaVerne Robertson Davis stepped in front of her final college class on April 20 as if it were Carnegie Hall.

Dressed in tailored Dillard-blue pants and a matching college T-shirt, her blonde-streaked hair in a perfect shag, Davis launched into a recitation.

"Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic," she declared.

She ticked her Ts and paused to build suspense, not for a moment treating the assignment like kids' stuff. Taking it seriously.

Her first time in college, Davis was a kid herself, and she didn't take it seriously. That was 1970. She lasted a year. Then came marriage, children, career, divorce, remarriage, seven grandchildren and cancer twice -- as she puts it, "life."

On Saturday (May 13), at the age of 63, Davis will earn her bachelor's degree in vocal performance.

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