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Lynn’s oldest grad, 85-year-old Jack Slotnick, on track to walk in May
Published Apr. 26, 2011
In January 2010, Lynn University’s favorite 84-year-old Purple Heart vet, Jack Slotnick, enrolled a few credits shy of sophomore standing to complete his undergraduate degree – a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology with a minor in American Studies from Lynn's College of Liberal Education. A mere year-and-a-half later, Slotnick will walk in Lynn’s 46th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. Now 85 years old, Slotnick will be the oldest student to graduate from the university.
Jack packaging meals during Lynn's Knights Unite Day of Caring
Slotnick was able to complete his B.S. quickly because he came to Lynn with almost a full year of credits under his belt, and he took overloads each semester - including Summer and January Term. Slotnick was able to focus exclusively on his course work because unlike most traditional college-age students at Lynn, his full-time job was school. He didn't have a part-time job, nor the personal distractions of college life most young people have.
"I've never studied so hard in my life," said Slotnick, "but I knew it was something I needed to do for me and my family. I've learned so much here. It's been a lot of work, but I can't wait to start my graduate degree."
Despite his heavy workload, Slotnick is on track to graduate cum laude with 3.64 grade point average (GPA).
Although he is scheduled to walk in May, he will still need to complete three courses this summer to graduate.
“We only have one undergraduate commencement ceremony each year at Lynn,” said academic dean Gregg Cox. “So students who are officially graduating in the summer, with a maximum of three remaining courses, can walk in May.” (If Slotnick fails to successfully complete his remaining courses this semester, he will not be allowed to walk in May's ceremony).
Lynn is Slotnick's second home
Lynn has literally become a second home for Slotnick. Outside of the classroom, he can be found in the cafeteria for lunch and even dinner before his evening classes. He studies in Lynn’s library, he seeks academic advice from Lynn’s tutoring center, and he’s involved in almost every major student event.
Jack in Lynn's 2011 Spring Fashion Show
Slotnick recently modeled in Lynn’s annual spring fashion show, donning a red punk rock shirt, stylish blue jeans and even hair gel to spike up his white locks. “They wanted to paint my hair purple,” said Slotnick, “but I told them that was too much.”
In January, Slotnick joined Lynn’s students, staff and faculty for the university’s first annual Knights Unite Day of Caring honoring the four students and two professors lost in the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. He put on a hair net and helped the university pack 30,000 meals for children in orphanages in Haiti.
In November 2010, Slotnick celebrated his 85th birthday with his fellow classmates. Professor Jim Kassar, Slotnick’s Quantitative Reasoning teacher, decided to throw Slotnick a mini-surprise party at the end of class with a delicious cake and birthday cards from Slotnick’s peers and fellow students. Kassar said he doesn’t typically order a cake for his students on their birthdays, but “how often do you get a celebrate one of your students' 85th birthday?” asked Kassar. “What Jack is doing is amazing. He’s an inspiration to us all!”
Since his arrival at Lynn, Slotnick has made waves in the national media appearing on NBC’s Today Show, on Fox’s America’s Newsroom where he was pegged as the “World’s Oldest Freshman,” on CNN, in the Sun-Sentinel saying “you really are a dumb-dumb” for not going back to school, and in the Palm Beach Post as the “Octogenarian refuses to ’stagnate’.”
Slotnick has been accepted into Lynn’s graduate program and plans to pursue a master's in psychology so he can help mentor fellow war veterans.