Senior rekindles love of learning and graduates 50 years later

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A 73-year-old Lucan who overcame cancer, a broken back and a 50-year gap to return to school has finally graduated from college.

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A 73-year-old Lucan who overcame cancer, a broken back and a 50-year gap to return to school has finally graduated from college.

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“I had a few challenges,” said John Sherratt, who nonetheless passed courses in philosophy, history and disability studies to graduate this spring from King’s University College at Western University – five decades later that he could have had he stuck to his initial studies.

When Sherratt first enrolled at King’s in 1968, it was only because his family and teachers had urged him to study at Catholic university rather than his choice of art, he said. declared.

“My heart wasn’t there,” he said. “I did things but not well and failed a few classes. “

Sherratt said officials at what was then a men’s school were unimpressed. “I was told to take a year off because I was failing.”

Still, he was good at math and began a long career without a degree, starting with an accounting firm in London.

After a vacation in his native England, Sherratt decided to return there and worked in the UK for several years before returning to Canada with a fiancee.

The romance fizzled out. And he quickly quit his job at what was then the Department of National Revenue. “Everyone thought I was crazy,” he recalls.

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It was around this time that his interest in learning revived and he enrolled at DeVry Institute of Technology, a for-profit college that no longer exists, in Toronto.

“This time I wanted to do it and no one pressured me. It was my decision alone, ”he said.

He studied computer information systems and after a year at school in the United States, was invited to become a DeVry teacher, teaching students in software and database development.

When DeVry closed, Sherratt retired in 2014 and eventually ended up in the London area, settling in Lucan.

Recovering from both prostate cancer and a broken back – from a fall down the stairs seven years ago – Sherratt was on his way to London for a doctor’s appointment when he spotted a sign indicating an open house at King’s.

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“Something prompted me to come,” he said.

After speaking with university officials, Sherratt was welcomed into his studies in 2019 on a much larger campus than the one he left decades ago. “I rather liked. In a way, I felt like I was coming home, ”he said.

“It’s never too late to achieve your goals,” King Chairman David Malloy said. “John’s persistence is an incredible example of lifelong learning and an inspiration not only to our young students, but to our entire community.

King’s has a program in place to help mature students – defined as those over 25. More information is available at https://www.kings.uwo.ca/current-students/student-affairs/mature-transfer-students/.

“We hope that even more students will see that university education remains accessible regardless of their age. It’s part of the ongoing commitment to be an age-friendly campus community in King’s, ”said Joe Henry, the college’s dean of students.

As the pandemic raged and studies moved online, Sherratt found himself facing even more challenges.

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“I’ve always enjoyed it,” he said. “I found the instructor’s approach to be quite good and very helpful, but the fact that you were alone and did not have personal contact with your fellow students made it a bit more difficult.”

Sherratt said he hopes to re-enroll this fall at King’s with a concentration in Philosophy, a course in which he earned 90% for his first degree.

“Ideally I’m planning on doing a philosophy degree, I liked the concept of trying to figure out why things are,” he said.

For those who may be considering returning to class in their later years, Sherratt shares this advice: “If you want to do it, do it – but make sure you want to do it because it can be difficult. “

hrivers@postmedia.com

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