87-year-old checks graduating college off bucket list

Posted By: Sarah Fili


At 87 years old Jean Kops has accomplished many things but graduating college wasn't one of them until now.

"Well it felt wonderful. But I never thought I’d cause this much commotion!" Kops said.

Jean took a 68 year gap between her first two years of college and her education now.

In that time she got married, raised a family of five daughters on a ranch near basset and held a steady job. But getting her degree was always on her mind. She and her husband often talked about going back to get their degrees.

"Well I took two online classes when I still was living in basset, and I did pretty well on them and enjoyed them. So Cheryl said mom why don't you come take classes and I thought, well I cant do that!" Kops said.

After her husband’s death Jean's daughter Cheryl, a UNL alum as well, finally convinced the 87 year old to go back to school- just like she had always talked about.

Saturday she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and her family couldn't be more proud of her.

"Oh my gosh so exciting! We just cried when we saw all the emotion and just watching her and just cheering and everybody being so excited. I just love the inspiration that she's provided," Carol Nygren, Jeans Daughter, said.

"I feel- its hard to put into words. I was teary inside I was so proud of my mom. I was proud when I graduated from here, when my daughter graduated, but to see my mom was amazing!" Cheryl Wagoner, Jeans Daughter, said.

While Jean says her love of learning is what brought her back- as for what her future holds?

"It's good! Except I feel kind of sad that I won't be going back out there,” Kops said.

Jean now has 5 Lincoln graduates in the family, including herself.