The oldest student athlete in the 140-year history of Reinhardt University, and possibly nationwide, is getting ready to graduate with high honors. Debbie Blount will turn 65 years old two days before her May graduation. She laughs about getting a Medicare card, but has taken her studies seriously. She’s on the Dean’s list with a 4.0 G.P.A. in all her classes at Reinhardt, while competing with the golf team.
Blount is even nominated for nontraditional Student of the Year. Her bachelor’s degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in History, English, and Sports Studies.
Winning a college trophy for placing 6th at a golf tournament at the Links at Kahite in Tennessee is one of her greatest accomplishments. Another is contributing to the team, which she has done in almost every event.
Before making golf her passion, Blount was an x-ray technician at Piedmont Hospital for 15 years. She also taught skiing in Vail Colorado for 35 years and volunteered for 21 years at St. John Methodist Church helping men in recovery.
Despite all this, Blount always regretted not getting a college degree. After her husband of 26 years passed away, she decided to not only make college a reality, but to be competitive in golf, a sport they played together. In high school, her counselor recommended Reinhardt University, and later she learned her mother-in-law worked there as a dorm mother in the 1970’s. In 2019, after her young caddy told her he golfs and studies at Reinhardt, Blount took the three referrals as a sign and decided to apply. May 5, she’ll graduate with her caddy.
Blount says going to Reinhardt was the right decision, “When I walked on campus the first day, something came over me that made me know I was home. There’s a nurturing environment here, and it’s an inclusive place. I know that’s a buzz word, but everyone does accept everyone else. I have found my home here. I see so many kids that can find a place of acceptance, as I have. Who would have thought they would they’d accept a 60-something as one of their own. I believe in this school, this university, and I can’t imagine not being a part of it.”
Blount is still considering her options after graduation. She has one more year of athletic eligibility, and might pursue a Master’s degree.
Whatever she decides, she will be helping others like her get the same opportunity later in life. In memory of her late husband, she has established the Blount Family Scholarship with preference to adult learners at Reinhardt University. She’s asking her friends to forgo graduation presents and make donations to her scholarship fund, “That would be the greatest gift I could ever receive.”