CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University graduate from Bend will travel to Philadelphia next month (April) to receive the National Outstanding Nontraditional Student Award from the University Continuing Education Association.

Delia Costley Jones graduated from OSU in June with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, summa cum laude. A mother of three, she is now preparing for law school. She was nominated for the award by Barbara Moon, director of continuing education at OSU.

The award honors students for excellence in pursuit of continuing education. After winning the regional competition earlier this winter, she was recently notified that she won the national competition.

"I was very surprised," she said. "It's exciting - the national award. But while I am really honored by this, I am also humbled. It is an honor to be selected knowing that there are a lot of wonderful students out there who are also deserving of recognition."

Born with cystic fibrosis and only one lung, her path has been anything but easy. She survived a difficult divorce and was raising her children on her own when she made the decision to advance her education and support her family.

She enrolled at Central Oregon Community College in Bend and completed her associate of arts degree in 1997. Through OSU's Distance and Continuing Education program, she was able to continue work on an undergraduate degree while remaining in Bend with her family.

"Everyone at Oregon State really has the desire to see students succeed and they have always been very approachable," Costley Jones said. "But, like anything, a lot of education is what you make of it, what you put into it."

After her trip to Philadelphia, Costley Jones plans to once again tackle the books.

"Law school - I really think I can go to law school. Having earned this award gives me a positive message. It's a reinforcement that helps give me the confidence and the message that I can succeed.

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Barbara Moon, 541-737-1282