Art of Aging: Seniors in College

The idea of being a senior in college is taking on a whole new meaning as more older adults are heading back to school.

John Hill is a pulmonary administrator at Deborah Heart and Lung Center, but he's also a student at LaSalle University, graduating this spring, with an MBA.

He said, "I wanted to pursue a higher education. Life gets in the way of doing it when you're young, and finally was the right time."

And like many over the age of 50 students, his goal is career advancement.

"I always tell my boss, 'I want your job when I get older.' If I graduate with my MBA, I'm hoping to tie everything together, all the course work, and make me a better manager," said Hill.

MarySheila McDonald, interim Dean of LaSalle's School of Business says the campus has become a mix of young and old.

She said, "It brings a lot of richness and depth into our conversations, and we are having more and more older adults coming back to school."

LaSalle is actively working to encourage the trend. Both for older adults looking to advance their career and those who just enjoy the idea of lifelong learning.

Dean McDonald said, "We have all sorts of programs offered on campus that aren't just for credit. We have guest speakers. We invite our community often onto campus."

Michelle Obama was a recent guest speaker on campus.

Many local colleges, including LaSalle, offer counseling to older adults considering a return to the classroom. John Hill has some advice.

"Don't be intimidated by going back to classes. You can learn from the youth and the youth can learn from you," said Hill.

After 31 years working in the medical profession, Hill says going back to school was not just beneficial, but necessary.

"The classroom really stimulated my mind. I like to learn. I need to be challenged. I need to be competitive," said Hill.

For more stories about seniors, visit our Art of Aging section.
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