CYPRESS, Texas – Houston Mayor Annise Parker was warmly received when she gave the commencement address at Lone Star College Cy-Fair Saturday at the Berry Center in Cypress.
But when Ken Levin’s name was called the crowd stood to its feet in a standing ovation.
“He’s our oldest student this time. We had an 82-year-old that graduated about four years ago,” said college president Dr. Audre Levy.
At 83, Levin is a record setter. He had tried for years to get a degree, but this time he had some help. His son Herschel, 20, attended college with him.
“That’s what it was all about was getting him through school,” Ken said of his son.
“They took classes together. They rooted for each other all the way through and they had a blast,” said wife and mother Judy Bluestein Levin.
In history class, Ken had first-hand knowledge about many events. So much so, the professor joked about it.
Herschel recalled on joke in which the professor said, “’Alright we’re going to talk about the Civil War today. Hey (Ken), you were there? What happened?’”
Now if you’re doing the math, you can figure out Ken is pretty advanced in years to have a 20-year-old son.
He has a joke of his own about that.
“The real feat wasn’t going through school. It was producing the student at my age,” he said laughing.
Ken’s wife is 30 years younger. They met back when she worked at Houston Community College.
“I hired him. I was editor of the newspaper and he was my photo editor and I actually tried to fix him up with my mother,” Judy said.
But they fell in love, married and had Herschel. Ken has been through a lot, including a health crisis six years ago that almost took his life.
Walking across the stage with his son Saturday was a precious pay-off at the end of a long road.
“I am exploding inside,” Ken said. “I’m so proud of him!” Herschel said the two are not going to stop with earning an associate degree.
“I think we’re planning to go on to Sam Houston (State University) and get degrees in teaching,” he said.