84-year-old, Purple Heart vet is Lynn’s newest freshman

Lake Worth resident, Jack Slotnick, enrolled this spring as a full-time undergraduate student
84-year-old, Purple Heart vet is Lynn’s newest freshman

Published Feb. 03, 2010

Going back to school has always been something 84-year-old resident of Lake Worth, Fla., Jack Slotnick, wanted to do. “I’ve driven by Lynn’s campus more than 100 times,” said Slotnick. “One day I decided to stop in and find out about continuing my education.”

Jack SlotnickThis spring, Slotnick enrolled in five courses as a full-time undergraduate student at Lynn University. He transferred as a second-semester freshman with 24 credits from his previous studies at Brooklyn College. The registered psychology major says he’s taking two psychology classes, one history class and two core classes within Lynn’s Dialogues of Learning – a Scientific Literacy course and a Self and Society course.

Slotnick attends class daily on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. – noon, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. In a classroom packed with mostly 18-22 year old students, Slotnick said, “most kids look at me like I’m crazy. I have grandchildren their age.”

Although Lynn’s spring semester began just two weeks ago, Slotnick completed his first class with Robert Watson this J-Term. “Dr. Watson makes history come to life,” said Slotnick. “It was a true privilege to meet and study with him.”

In 1944, Slotnick was awarded a Purple Heart. A member of the 66th Infantry Division during World War II – most commonly referred to as the Black Panther Division – he was aboard the SS LeopoldvilleJack Slotnick class when it was attacked on Christmas Eve. “There were 2,244 troops aboard that ship,” said Slotnick. “We lost about 800. I feel lucky to be alive.”

When asked what’s different about being in the classroom today Slotnick said, “I can’t do my homework without a computer, but I’m taking a crash course.”