By Deb Silverthorn
Janet Fein, 84, graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas on Dec. 19, six years after returning to school, bound and determined to earn her bachelor of arts degree in sociology.
One of nearly 2,800 students receiving their diplomas, Fein’s story has traveled the globe, picked up by more than 850 entities since first appearing in a Dec. 6 Texas Jewish Post article.
“I can’t even express how overwhelmed I feel and how appreciative I am of everyone’s support and help and concern,” said Fein, who received accolades, calls from near and far, and bouquets of flowers, including one from UTD President Richard Benson.
“We’re honored to celebrate the graduation of Janet Fein, our 84-year-young sociology major,” Benson said. “We’re thrilled she has accomplished her longtime dream to be the proud holder of an undergraduate degree. Congratulations; she and other students have made UTD a better place.”
Fein, a New York native who graduated from high school at 16, received her associate’s degree in 1995, then returned to school in 2012 after retiring from her work at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.
Fein completed her last courses online after her health made her wheelchair bound. She had taken a DART bus to UTD, oxygen in tow.
Lauded by her children, grandchildren, sister and brother-in-law, friends and co-workers and thousands in the auditorium who broke into cheers and applause, many in a standing ovation, Fein was glowing throughout the ceremony – wheeled up to the stage to collect handshakes, hugs and her diploma.
Going out for a celebratory meal at a favorite Chinese restaurant, the owner showed her an article and translated it to English for her. Newspapers, television and radio stations, and more have been calling.