Meet the 83-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Enrolled at Harvard University

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Currents News Staff

With 83 birthdays behind her, Mrs. Barbara Ingraham of Dallas still isn’t ready to retire…from learning.

“I still want to be able to go out and be challenged,” Barbara says. “I got bored… and I decided that I needed to do something mentally to stay busy.”

So when she’d had her fill of puzzles during the pandemic, the great grandmother decided to take on a new challenge: Harvard.

“It was the best school I could go to, and hardest school I felt like I could go to,” Barbara says.

With her family’s full support, later this month, Barbara will begin her fourth semester at the elite school studying economics, history and working hard.

“I have a routine. I start it at night at 10:00 and study until 2:30 in the morning.. and if I’d studied longer, I probably could have done better, but that was my routine,” she says.

All the while, she’s having fun. 

“I almost feel guilty that I’m having such a good time,” she says.

Barbara is taking all of her classes online, but says she hopes to one day visit the campus. Already she’s being called a ‘billboard for lifelong learning’ and already has a real-life billboard in Dallas.

“I couldn’t process it the first time that Stan and I pulled up to look at it,” Barbara says. 

Barbara says she’s enjoying both the applause and the challenge, she says the message isn’t just meant for her.

“There was a lady out there and I got out of the car and walked over to her and I said, ‘why are you taking a picture of this’? And she said, ‘because I want my mother to see this. So I knew what she meant. She wanted her mother to get on the ball and do something!’” Barbara says.

That’s because she says dreams don’t come with expiration dates.

“We’ve done a lot of living,” Barbara says, “but we still have a lot of living to do.”