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German pediatrician Ingeborg Rapoport, 97, speaks during an interview in her house in Berlin on July 3, 2009.
Thomas Peter—Reuters

A 102-year-old retired neonatologist successfully defended her doctoral thesis on Wednesday, 77 years after the Nazi regime denied her the opportunity.

Ingeborg Rapoport will become the oldest person to receive a doctoral degree at a ceremony at the University of Hamburg next month, the Wall Street Journal reports. Her thesis, which she submitted in 1938, focused on diphtheria, an infectious disease that was the leading cause of death among children in Europe at the time.

Rapoport was raised a Protestant but her mother was Jewish, leading officials at the time to deem her ineligible for academic advancement. She emigrated to the United States in 1938 and eventually received an M.D. from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

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