of his own
19, 2000, Gazette)
Maher, 78, will receive a BA in political science tomorrow. Memorial
will award over 700 degrees this fall. About 350 graduands, including
Mr. Maher, will cross the Arts and Culture Centre stage during
Fall Convocation 2000.
Ron Maher is not the retiring type. With most of his working,
volunteering and family-raising days behind him, Mr. Maher found
himself in 1987 with a lot of time on his hands.
His stint with the Catholic Education Committee had just ended
when fellow committee member Dr. John Scott of Memorials
philosophy department suggested Mr. Maher sign up for one of
his courses. He did, despite the fact he didnt know
a hell of a lot of philosophy. I thought it was bunk.
Preconceptions aside, he passed the course and was hooked again
I was addicted, he said.
Tomorrow, the 78-year-old Torbay resident will walk across the
stage of the Arts and Culture Centre and receive his bachelor
of arts degree.
After that first philosophy course, Mr. Maher was unsure of what
was next. He ended up in the office of assistant registrar Mary-Kaye
MacFarlane, who advised him that a BA would require two courses
in a foreign language. She then suggested Latin.
So Mr. Maher dutifully completed his two courses in Latin, and
the other courses required for a degree in political science,
with a minor in history. In the fall, he would attend class on
campus in St. Johns. Spending the winter months with his
wife Sheila in Florida, Mr. Maher would take distance education
courses through the School of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education is fantastic, he said of the
school. They are not publicized enough for the work they
Surrounded in the classroom with young people barely out of high
school was a great experience, said Mr. Maher, though not without
humourous moments. When a prof carried on a discussion about
the advances in communications, he asked if anyone knew when
the wristwatch was introduced. The prof then told a flabbergasted
Mr. Maher, Dont you answer. You were probably around
The wristwatch first appeared in the middle of the 19th century.
The next day the discussion turned to the first trans-Atlantic
cable. Does anyone know when the first transatlantic cable
was laid and where? asked the prof.
Mr. Mahers hand shot up immediately.
Hearts Content, 1866. I remember it distinctly.
Mr. Maher said he would be satisfied if his graduation encouraged
other older people to get back in the classroom.
It frightens me that people would sit around all day watching
television, he said.