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82-year-old Dallas woman enrolls at Harvard University

DALLAS – At the age of 82, Dallas resident Barbara Ingram is not your average senior.

Just four weeks after a complete hip replacement, she can be found exercising in her Harvard sweatshirt while attending her weekly postoperative physical therapy session.

At first glance, you might think Ivy League college is her alma mater, or perhaps a grandson's academic choice, but she wears the crimson letters proudly as an enrolled student.

During the pandemic, e-learning has become the new normal and, for many older people like Ingram, it makes going back to school easier than ever.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there were 6,932,074 students enrolled in distance education courses at post-secondary degree-granting institutions in 2018, data was collected from the most recent year. That number is likely to rise due to spikes in COVID-19 cases, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines.

 Barbara Ingram exercises on a bicycle during her weekly physical therapy session. (Spectrum News 1 / Lupe Zapata) "style =" cursor: pointer; "img-data-caption =" Barbara Ingram exercises on a bicycle during her weekly physical therapy session. (Spectrum News 1 / Lupe Zapata) "img-data-align =" center "img-data-width =" percent-hundred "img-data-wrap-text =" true "img-data-edit =" true "class = "imagen-imagen-hash" /><p> Barbara Ingram exercises on a bicycle during her weekly physical therapy session (Spectrum News 1 / Lupe Zapata)</p></p></div><p> Ingram's drive to stay young you can see it in his dedication in the gym and studying in front of his computer.</p><p> "Going to school is even more important to me than staying in shape," Ingram said. "I can't play tennis anymore. But, you know, the brain is always with us and we don't want to lose our memory. "</p><p> Ingram earned a degree in business education 60 years ago from the University of Miami, a research university in Coral Gables, Florida. Now, going back to school has been a way of staying connected and disconnecting at the same time.</p><p> "Don't forget there is a pandemic," Ingram said. "I know that there are people who die every day, but I didn't stop at that as I would if I didn't have my job to do."</p><p> This is not Ingram's first attempt to go back to school. She and her husband Stan Ingram have attended college classes in Dallas in recent years. Attending classes at the prestigious Ivy League has given him a sense of pride. She is not very familiar with operating a computer, but was excited by the challenge of attending classes online at Harvard.</p><p> "When I mentioned it to my family, I thought they were going to say that he had lost his mind," Ingram said. "But everyone supported me a lot and I thought well, I'll try."</p><p> With the help of her loving husband, she is now enrolled in her second class. In the fall of 2020, she completed an economics course and is currently enrolled in a class that covers East Asian environments.</p><p> During the spring semester, he will study how scientists predict the future of Asia for China, Japan and Korea. The course will also explore topics such as the technological energy crisis.</p><p> "It has been like an adventure for me what I have," Ingram said. "Besides, I have learned a lot."</p><p> For Ingram, studying is a way to keep his mind sharp. Now he encourages those his age to remember that knowledge is power and expects others to follow in his footsteps, even if it is not Harvard.</p><p> "Even if it's a painting class," Ingram said. "If it's something you always wanted to take in college and didn't do it for some reason, it's easier than ever, you can do it now." Ingram says he's smarter than when he started, and doesn't plan to slow down anytime soon. She plans to enroll in a class each semester in the future.</p><p> If you have an interesting story or problem that you would like to see addressed, please let us know. Share your ideas with DFW reporter Lupe Zapata:</p></p></div>
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