After a Full Career, Entertainment Journalist Graduates From Penn State

Mary Ann Norbom, 67, got her diploma this weekend.

They don’t typically write graduation stories like this.

It starts in 1969. Halfway through her junior year, Mary Ann Norbom moved away with her husband to Philadelphia, where she began a job with TV Guide. Over the next four decades, per a lively write-up by Penn State, she would get to cover a lot of fun topics for a succession of other outlets, beginning with Star magazine in New York:

One of her most memorable stories was about Dolly Parton. The magazine sent Norbom to the singer’s town in Tennessee, where she interviewed her friends and family, including her husband. “Her people flipped out afterwards that he had invited me in for lemonade,” Norbom said.

Norbom’s stints on TV had her producing segments on baseball legend Mickey Mantle and actor Robert Mitchum on Entertainment Tonight. At Hard Copy, she did on-camera interviews as the go-to expert on late actor Chris Farley.

Norbom wound up in recent years working as the lifestyles editor for a newspaper in Solvang, Calif., which is where she decided to complete her unfinished degree online. Over the weekend, she also spoke at a special function honoring the “World Campus” site that she used and rented a house to celebrate her graduation with friends and family. Way go go, Mary Ann!

Photo by: Patrick Mansell