Lynn’s oldest student wins seat at debateby Eliot Kleinberg | October 22nd, 2012
When Jack Slotnick told Lynn University administrators he wanted to go back to college at age 84, for a degree in psychology, the natural question was “why.”
“My wife (of 38 years) won’t close the closet doors,” he recalled saying. “I want to find out why.”
That was good enough for them. Three years ago, he became Lynn’s oldest freshman. Now, at 86 — 87 in four weeks — he’s the school’s oldest graduate student.
And on Monday morning, he held a ticket to Monday night’s presidential debate. No less than university president Kevin Ross gave up his own ticket for Slotnick.
With a shock of white hair and a twinkle in his eye, the World War II veteran from Lake Worth held court with students who’d won a lottery for the few student tickets available.
He said he has no preference in the debate; he said the first one he remembers is the one Franklin Roosevelt had over the Depression-era recovery. It’s there in the history books.
After serving in Europe in the war, Slotnick said, he came back to Brooklyn and attended night school for three years. But his job in vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers meant a lot of travel and he never got his degree.
He moved to South Florida about 15 years ago. He says he passed Lynn about a hundred times, but one day he found himself on Butts Road, the street named for local bean farmers who once owned the area where the Town Center mall now stands. Up the road: Lynn.
He recalled thinking, “I’m on Butts Road. There’s no more ‘buts.’”
Slotnick said his fellow students — he won’t “diss” them by calling them “kids” — have adopted him and he’s enjoying his pursuit.
“Life is never over until it’s over,” he said. “Every single day you don’t learn something, and every single day you don’t laugh about something, you’ve wasted it.”