Starting Over

Evelyn Benson

12/19/2011

While Evelyn Benson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees long ago, she is once again taking undergraduate courses for the pure pleasure of learning.

At 87, Benson is the oldest registered student on campus, availing herself of tuition-free undergraduate courses that Suffolk University offers to senior citizens on a space-available basis

The University’s commitment to lifelong learning benefits students like Benson whose thirst for learning doesn’t end with retirement as well as younger classmates, who benefit from the wisdom of their elders.

Personal enrichment

“Having an opportunity to attend Suffolk is a life-saver for me,” said Benson. “It is a meaningful experience that provides me with personal enrichment.”

Benson, who was born March 18, 1924 in Plymouth, Pa., earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Nurse and educator

She spent much of her career as a registered nurse and later taught nursing. When she moved to Boston in 2002 to be closer to her daughters and grandchildren, she hoped there would be a college or university nearby.

Much to her delight, Benson connected with Suffolk University and has been taking courses here since 2003. You can spot her walking up Temple Street during the fall, spring or summer, a smile on her face while en route to class.

Some of her favorite subject areas include history, humanities and philosophy.

“I listen and absorb as much as I can in every class,” she said.

Generous with her knowledge

“Evelyn is one of those rare souls who has added a great deal to my classes,” said English Professor George Kalogeris. “She is the embodiment of what makes our program for seniors so enriching for the younger students, primarily because of her willingness to participate and how she is so generous with her knowledge.”

Benson’s active retirement also includes volunteering in the library at the Museum of Science, walking, swimming, and meeting friends for lunch and concerts.

Her plan is to continue taking classes at Suffolk for as long as possible.

“I tell other senior citizens about about this program and how much I love it,” said Benson. “I just want to keep on learning.”

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