News Roundup: This 84-Year-Old Grandmother Just Earned A Degree From UT-Dallas

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 20, 2018 1:49 pm

A Texas woman making national headlines for earning her bachelor’s degree at 84-years-old graduated Wednesday. Anthony Cave with KERA News in North Texas was at the University of Texas at Dallas commencement.

Before the ceremony, Janet Fein beamed with excitement, surrounded by students her grandkids’ age.

She says she got the itch to go back to college after retiring from her secretary job at 78. She’d previously earned an associates degree.

“It was still unfinished,” Fein says. “I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to go as far as I could – I would have even gone further than this, but it’s a little difficult now.”

At first, Fein took the bus to class, then used her walker. She found her classmates warm and welcoming.

“They used to hold the door open for me so I could get in with my walker, and they even celebrated my birthday with me,” she says.

UT-Dallas president Richard Benson gave Fein a special shout-out during the ceremony.

“Ms. Fein raised a family of five, worked and pursued college classes over the years, and now he has accomplished her long-time dream of an undergraduate degree,” Benson said.

After moving to an assisted living center, Fein finished her last classes from home. Richard Scotch, her sociology professor, crafted a special lesson plan for her with some independent work.

“It was clear she wasn’t just trying to do the minimum or just get by,” Scotch says. “She really was very enthusiastic about it, and some of the materials she read were quite challenging – and she did a great job with it.”

Despite being the oldest of UT Dallas’ 2,800 graduates this semester, Fein says she’s not done yet. Fein plans to take a few political science classes, which she finds “stimulating.”

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm a fact that isn’t likely to surprise most Texans: the state saw the largest numeric population growth in the country between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2018.

During that period, the Lone Star State saw an increase of more than 379-thousand people. According to the Census, that growth is due to two factors: more births than deaths, and net gains in transplants from within and outside the United States.

Florida and California rounded out the rest of the top three for numeric population growth adding, 322,513 and 157,696 new people respectively.
Population Change for States (and Puerto Rico) From April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018

When it comes to which states had the fastest growth rate though, Nevada and Idaho topped all others. Each of their populations increased by 2.1 percent in the last year alone. Still Texas remains one of the most populous states in the country, second only to California.

And in more heartwarming news – because, c’mon it’s the holidays – hip hop star Travis Scott made good on a promise to Houston students this week.

A few months ago, a student at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School asked Scott on Twitter for permission to use artwork related to his Grammy-nominated album Astroworld.

Scott offered to design shirts for the students instead.  And this week the customs tees arrived. Travis Scott is originally from Missouri City, Texas, and received a key to that city earlier this year.