When I was asked to speak here today, I was reticent because for the past three years I have looked upon you all seated here as my family and we all have shared many hours of conversation debating every topic imaginable. I believe I received the nickname “Notorious,” for my frank and direct conversations with many of the students.
I’m keenly aware that many of you sought my time believing you were learning from me, however, unbeknownst to everyone, I was learning, encouraged and inspired by you all.
Many of my advanced classes were stressful not only for me but most students and whenever I felt sleepy, wanting to push the book away when I was stressed, reading late into the night or in the lab repeatedly trying to perform an experiment.
I took out my encouragement card with the following statement.
“I volunteered for this, and no achievement will come to me without hard work.”
I made a couple of hundred of the cards the first school year, and I have printed out one-thousand cards each year since. I have seen them posted on laptops, bulletin boards, and I see several on the tops of many of the graduation caps of the students seated here today.
You see even at the age of 83. I also needed encouragement and although this is my second postgraduate degree since my 65th birthday and my 5th college graduation receiving a diploma.
I have succeeded by being surrounded by youth that invigorates and encourages me to learn something about our world that was not available during my youth, my years of marriage, or while raising a family.
I revealed my educational statistics, not to brag nor to goad anyone into achieving similar education status, but to provide the excited and proud parents seated here today with the idea and belief anyone can continue learning until the day we die.
I attended this University because of my great-granddaughter who today will receive her master’s degree in Aquatic Environmental Science Engineering. I was at her last college graduation when she talked about wanting to learn more about the oceans on our planet that sparked, and peaked my interest also to learn more about the world’s oceans.
So today, I will receive my Master’s Degree after three years of devoted work in the field of Oceanography. I stand before you with more knowledge and desire to continue my studies with research off the coast of California.
My wife, children, grand, and great-grandchildren do not look far for educational encouragement and inspiration. Because hopefully, with good health and surviving several months at sea. I plan to be seated in the audience next May to photograph my wife received her doctorate in postmodern literature, her third graduate degree since her 65th birthday, along with my eldest son, and my grandson will collect their diplomas in Earth Sciences and Computer Engineering.
Now as impressive as what my wife and I have done, many people believe we are “farce,” because you like many of the students here on campus for the past three years have asked how did we pay for college?
I said it was easy, my wife and I moved in with our eldest son and his wife. Plus we received scholarships and financial aid, and we both worked at the Arena during the basketball, hockey games and special events.
So, maybe it is a new trend for retired baby boomer to share a home with their kids and return to school. I see it as a form of inspiration for grand and great-grandchildren, plus your adult children get to help their parents who sacrificed for them.
Plus, it feels so “cool” to tell you, children, I’m leaving for school. 🙂