Kitty Degree: ULM’s truest patron

ULM Hawkeye

Kitty Degree’s sweet voice re­sounded through the end of the telephone receiver.

“My father, he did talk from the Bible. He lived it with every breath. He lived it, and so you lived it. He is what people called a church mouse.”

She was explaining what it was that had formed who she was to the rest of us, if ever a thing like that can truly be ex­plained.

Mrs. Degree has donated a very large sum of money to ULM.

Such money coming from a woman who did not go to ULM, or even originate from Monroe, seems to be a bit of a mystery.

“I’m not from here; people are always surprised to find out I’m a damn Yankee from New Hampshire,” she laughed.

Luckily for ULM, Mrs. De­gree’s husband was a man whose job brought him to the south.

Their love story is one that makes it seem like true romance only existed along side Old Blue Eyes and fuzzy black and white Clark Gable films.

A young man who had just returned from the Navy and planned on reenlisting, Mr. De­gree met the future Mrs. Degree at a dance.

“The next morning his moth­er woke him up early to catch a train that would take him to where he could reenlist, but he told her he wasn’t going because he had just met the girl he was going to marry,” she said. She was 18.

Mrs. Degree had her parent’s beautiful marriage as an exam­ple, her father being a particular hero of hers.

“We were dirt poor growing up. I mean we were poor. My mother helped my father so much, and they made a dollar stretch farther than you could imagine.

“They never had one cross word for one another, not even in the worst depression this country has seen.”

As a young girl, Mrs. Degree wanted to go to high school, but the nearest one was 40 miles away.

Her father, however, under­stood that she would not be happy without an education. He let her move away in order to work for families and get money for school.

As a woman who was unable to have children, she and her husband wanted a way to give back and support the kind of education that her father had so graciously given her.

Mrs. Degree wanted to give to the children of other people, so all could have the opportunity of an education. Thus began her donations to ULM.

contact Collette Keith at

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