Lifelong learner: 83-year-old great-grandmother from Dallas studying economics through Harvard

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
83-year-old Texas great-grandmother enrolled at Harvard
Barbara Ingram, an 83-year-old great-grandmother from Dallas, was bored during the pandemic, so she decided to study economics through Harvard.

DALLAS -- If your New Year's goals are already needing a little boost - you'll want to meet Barbara Ingram of Dallas.

"I still want to be able to go out and be challenged," says the homemaker and 83-year-old great-grandmother. "I got bored... and I decided that I needed to do something mentally to stay busy."

When she'd had her fill of puzzles during the pandemic, Ingram decided to take on a new challenge: Harvard.

"It was the best school I could go to, and hardest school I felt I could go to," she explains with a shrug and smile.

So, with her family's full support - and a little bit of amazement from friends - Ingram will begin her fourth semester at the elite school later this month.

She says she's been studying economics, history - and oh yes, having fun while working hard.

"I have a routine," explains Ingram. "I start 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."

Ingram is taking her courses online, but wants to eventually visit the campus.

For now, she says she loves it so much that she feels almost guilty with all of the sadness in the world.

To top it off, this "walking billboard" for lifelong learning has now gotten a real billboard.

An anonymous supporter has put up a billboard at Park Lane and Greenville in Dallas touting her latest challenge.

"I couldn't process it the first time that (husband) Stan and I pulled up to look at it," she shares.

And while she's enjoying both the applause and the challenge, Ingram says she knows the message is bigger than just celebrating her.

"There was a lady out there, taking a picture and I said, 'why are you taking a picture of this'? And she said, 'because I want my mother to see this'. She wanted her mother to get on the ball and do something!"

Ingram says the message to seniors, or anyone is that "ages are just numbers."

If you're able and capable, keep setting and chasing new goals. After all, dreams needn't come with expiration dates.

"We've done a lot of living," shares Ingram, "but we still have a lot of living to do."