Fayette County

For one day, this 88-year-old grandma got to be a college student at UK

88-year-old grandmother attends UK classes with granddaughter for a day

Janet Lindsay, UK freshman Naomi Lindsay's grandmother, joined her granddaughter in her classes Friday to experience how modern classes were taught and to be with her family for the week.
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Janet Lindsay, UK freshman Naomi Lindsay's grandmother, joined her granddaughter in her classes Friday to experience how modern classes were taught and to be with her family for the week.

She’s the grandmother often seen with a purple streak in her hair. She’s the grandmother who isn’t afraid to wear tattoos — the temporary ones, of course. On Friday, Janet Lindsay was the grandmother shadowing her granddaughter for a day at the University of Kentucky.

Lindsay, 88, who lives Pontiac, Iowa, is in Lexington for the week, visiting with her family, including her son Grant Lindsey. While in town, she spent a full day at classes with her granddaughter, Naomi Lindsay.

Janet Lindsay has shown plenty of interest in UK since visiting Naomi for the first time over the summer. Last week, a plan was devised.

From 9 a.m. to nearly 1 p.m. Friday, Janet shadowed her freshman granddaughter at her four classes. Naomi said it meant a lot to her to have her grandmother there with her.

“My initial thought was that this is going to be awesome,” said Naomi, a Tates Creek High School graduate. “I love my grandma and I’d love for her to see where I am every day. Right after that I thought, ‘Oh no, she is 88. How is she going to be able to get to all of my classes? What will my professors think? Will they be OK with it?’ But I have been in contact with a bunch of different people and they have all been tickled by the idea.”

Janet is perfectly able to get from class to class — “I can do all the exercises the students can,” she said — but her family thought it would be a good idea to provide her with a better way to get from class to class quickly.

They secured a free scooter for the day from Grogan’s Healthcare Supply.

She was thrilled by the experience, of course, but she couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the size of UK’s campus and some of its classes. One of their classes Friday, psychology 100, had more than 500 students.

“We didn’t even have that many in the college I went to (Westmar University in Le Mars, Iowa).”

Ever since Naomi was a baby, her grandmother helped out financially with the intention of sending her to college. It turned out Naomi didn’t need the full extent of her help: She received a scholarship to UK after completing the Governor’s Scholars Program.

But Naomi wanted to show her gratitude; thus the offer to be with her for a day at college.

“She is such a strong, independent woman. She’s the most determined woman I have ever met,” Naomi said. “She wears what she wants, she’s friendly and talks to everyone. I’ve never heard anything negative come out of her mouth. I recently wrote a card to her because she loves to get mail. I told her how I want to be just like her when I grow up, because she is so true to herself and doesn’t let anyone or anything get in the way.”

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson

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