Former homeless woman defies odds, graduates from UOP


Thirty-five years after she dropped out of high school, Gwen Primous is a new graduate of the University of the Pacific.

And not only did the 50-year-old earn a degree in sociology, but she also graduated with honors and was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Harold S. Jacoby Award, which honors a student for exceptional community service and academic excellence.

Primous worked her way up, from literally having nothing. At one point in her life she fell on hard times and was homeless, living in her car. She admits it was a struggle to get her degree, and was so stressed out she suffered a stroke.

"I didn't think that I was good enough," Primous said. "I didn't think that I had the grades for it. I didn't have the money for it and where I come from, you don't go here. [But] you can make it if you're 50-years-old and you can make it from the hood to be hooded, you can make it."

Primous has started a charity that tutors students called The Dome of Hope. Her goal now is to give back to the community by helping build up southeast Stockton.

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