Debbie Blount becomes oldest student athlete at Reinhardt University

Debbie Blount spent much of her life dreaming of attending college. Her goal of earning a college degree never left her and at nearly 63-years-old, Blount chose Reinhardt University to finally live out her college experience.

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Debbie Blount

“Reinhardt College – as it was known back in the day – was suggested to me by my high school guidance counselor in 1975, but I went to x-ray school instead. I looked into attending local colleges many times over the past 20 years, but the time was never right because of family obligations, and the time required to work properly on a degree.”

Blount’s marriage and taking care of her elderly parents took precedence, along with teaching skiing in Colorado and spending her summers on the golf course with her husband. When her husband passed away nearly three and a half years ago, and her father a few months later, Blount tried to figure out what to do next in life.

“The idea of college kept popping up in my head and I decided it was time to fulfill a dream of a college degree,” said Blount. “I was really scared of failure though.”

While golfing in Sandy Springs, Blount met Reinhardt student athlete Jack Haller who was working as a caddy at the course. Athletics always felt intertwined into the college experience for Blount, and she began asking Haller about Reinhardt’s golf program.

“The wheels started turning in my head like a hamster on a wheel. I had somewhat lost my passion for golf when my husband passed away and was looking to reignite my passion for the game and try to take my game to a higher level. The answer seemed to be college golf.” 

As she researched her options and contacted Reinhardt’s golf coach, Blount’s excitement for college and playing golf grew. She is now the oldest student athlete as a member of Reinhardt’s women’s golf team. Additionally, her initial fear of failing academically proved to be of little concern after making the President’s List, an accomplishment that requires a 4.0 GPA. Blount called her 94-year-old mother to tell her the news, and she was very proud of her daughter.

The self-described “Ancient Eagle” searched for a place to earn a degree and play golf and found a supportive community in Reinhardt’s faculty, and in her teammates.

“My teammates have been so welcoming, and I love my time with them. We laugh a lot and I love being part of a team! They have taught me cool things to do on my phone and computer. My professors have been so supportive and tolerant of the old lady who asks so many questions. I love having goals for class and working on the homework. That probably sounds weird to some of my young classmates, but I love studying and having something to do.”

Blount’s family is part of Reinhardt’s rich history.  Her mother-in-law served as a “dorm mother” in the early 1970s, around the time Blount’s guidance counselor recommended the college as a next step. Now Blount experiences the sense of home for herself.

“I have come home to a place where I believe I was always supposed to be and I love that feeling. I get choked up when I walk around our beautiful campus. I love the supportive nature of Reinhardt.”

When asked for her advice for other Eagles, Blount encourages students to make their dreams happen.

“Embrace the wonderful opportunity to work on a college degree, view studying as important and never be afraid to follow your dream. It may not happen on your schedule but if you can dream it, you can do it. Find your passion. One step at a time, one day at a time, one hurdle at a time – it will happen.”