Woman dies after earning master’s degree - ... Was due to graduate tomorrow

January 13, 2021
Rosemarie Scott (centre) is flanked by daughters Zaneta (left) and Zuri.
Rosemarie Scott (centre) is flanked by daughters Zaneta (left) and Zuri.
Rosemarie Scott taking her graduation photos.
Rosemarie Scott taking her graduation photos.

Twins Zaneta and Zuri Scott were eager to celebrate their mother Rosemarie's graduation from the University of the West Indies, Mona, tomorrow.

This would've been Rosemarie's first graduation ceremony. She completed her master's degree in library and information studies last November and there were plans for a celebratory dinner. It was not to be as Rosemarie passed away at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Sunday, January 3.

"It's disheartening. We were really looking forward to it and then life just throws you a curve ball," Zaneta said.

Rosemarie's death shocked the family, as although she battled lupus, she was described as a fighter and someone full of life. Zaneta said her mother was committed to attaining her master's. Rosemarie, 51, started the programme in 2016, and faced numerous hurdles, including the death of her spouse, Wilton.

Hospitalised twice

"At one point the challenge was financial in terms of the school fee, 2017 was a rough year health-wise. I know that she paused courses because of her health. She was hospitalised twice that year and when those two challenges seemed to clear up, the challenge was when my dad died. We all had to start over in 2018 after my dad died. That put a whole pause on school," Zaneta said.

Wilton's passing on January 5, 2018, did not deter Rosemarie from completing the degree; it gave her motivation to finish her research. She was also encouraged by friends, family, and even academic advisers.

Rosemarie served as the senior library technical assistant at the School of Nursing for 26 years and was a librarian at the Jamaica Theological Seminary. She was an avid enthusiast for data collection and was known for her good memory and recollection of events.

"She remembers everything. In a sense, she's the family historian. She carries over those disciplines of record keeping in other areas of her life and I am proud of her," Zaneta said

She recalled how excited her mother was when she took her graduation photographs last November. Zaneta said she and Zuri arranged for Rosemarie to have her hair and make-up done, even though she did not want to "do anything fussy".

The photographs, which went viral on Twitter, were an inspiration to other persons to not give up.

"It would've been easy for someone at her age to say 'this is not for me, this is young people thing and I should just stop at my first degree'. But she did not give up, she persevered. But the fact she was able to put on the gown and take the photo and she got to hold the degree in her hand, I'm really proud," Zaneta said.

Zaneta told THE STAR that her mother played a pivotal role in her becoming an urban planner and Zuri being a chemical engineer, and they will never forget her motivational talks.

"We will still celebrate her in the moment. I am happy persons are celebrating her in her death and I just wished she was here to see how celebrated she is in the moment. It's bitter-sweet," she said.

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