Joyce Lowenstein had an unconventional, yet remarkable, path to receiving her bachelor’s degree Thursday from Georgia State University.
Her pursuit began in 1943. It was interrupted for nearly 70 years with being a wife, a mother, spoiling her great-grandchildren and working as an antiques dealer and interior designer.
In 2012, Lowenstein felt she needed to complete one unfinished task. She went back to school to get an art history degree. The seven-year quest included some ailments and a foggy memory at some points. Lowenstein turned 93 in April
“I wanted to get my degree and it took time,” Lowenstein said during an interview this week on the balcony of her Midtown Atlanta home.“It feels good. Very happy,” she said after the ceremony. “I don’t have to do any more essays.”
Georgia State University President Mark Becker commended Lowenstein for her “perseverance” in his remarks during Thursday’s commencement ceremony. Lowenstein received a standing ovation when she walked across the stage when each graduate’s name was called.
Lowenstein, who coyly said she did “very good,” graduated with honors. Her grade-point average was slightly above a 4.0, said Maria Gindhart, associate dean of the university’s College of the Arts. Georgia State’s grading scale includes A-plus.
Gindhart, who was Lowenstein’s professor in four classes, said of her former student, “She has this grit and grace in an amazing combination.”A few graduates congratulated Lowenstein and took selfies with her. Lowenstein’s 11-year-old great-granddaughter, who came from Boulder, Colorado, for the ceremony, was among those impressed.“It’s kind of cool,” said Lara Lenderman, a fifth grader. “Now I get to tell everyone my great-grandmother graduated from college at 93 years old.”
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