WCU Honors 86-Year-Old Student, Also A US Air Force Veteran

Andrew Kramer
April 13, 2018 - 10:12 pm
Lowell Gardenhour being honored during a ceremony on campus.

Credit: West Chester University of PA


WEST CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) - West Chester University hosted a special ceremony Friday night to honor one of the school's computer science majors. But it's safe to say he is far from your typical college student.

At 86 years old, Lowell Gardenhour has been taking one class a semester at WCU for years. He's considered a junior.

"I go there to keep alive and keep my brain from freezing, instead of sitting at home watching TV all day," he tells KYW Newsradio.

Lowell Gardenhour at the ceremony in his honor.
Credit: West Chester University of PA

Gardenhour didn't go to college when he was younger, because...

"I graduated from high school and went right to Korea," he says.

He joined the United States Air Force in 1952. A few years later he was one of just a couple hundred US soldiers sent on a top secret mission to help the French in Indochina.

And now, Gardenhour is spending some of his time in class.

"We're called 'adult students,' and, of course, we have the same responsibilities for our studies like the teenager students," he explains.

Credit: West Chester University of PA

The University awarded Gardenhour with a certificate of appreciation.

"It's pretty special to be recognized for your service to your country," he says. "I personally am overwhelmed with being able to get this honor."

Gardenhour has donated rare photos and artifacts from his secret mission to the university, where they can be seen as part of a digital display.