‘No time like the present’: 71-year-old Rider University student has no intention of stopping learning

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LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) – “If there’s something in life that you want to do, there’s no time like the present to begin,” said Carol Curtis.

Curtis jokes that she can’t tell if she’s 17 or 71. It’s hard to blame her, since she was taking classes at Rider University at both ages.

“So many people have said to me, you go back to school, I wish I had. There are a lot of people who never finished their studies,” she said. “Well I took one class at a time while I was working all day and you are doing it.”

Curtis received her first associate’s degree in 1969. She went on to become a wife, mother, and assistant to financial advisers. But she always wanted to go back to school for her baccalaureate.

That dream came true in 2011. Yet Curtis still wanted to go back to class.

“The great thing about school is that you can audit the classes as alumni,” she said. “I’ve been doing this since 2011.”

Each semester Curtis draws from a list of courses she attends, but receives no official credit. She has studied terrorism, counterterrorism and drugs in America. She has also traveled the world with Rider University while studying countries like China, Cuba and more.

“With COVID, I needed something that would be just fun,” she said. “So now I’m taking a class on Bruce Springsteen.”

The course, “Unpacking Bruce Springsteen”, is one of many unique course offerings that depart from typical core studies.

“Lifelong learning is something everyone should aspire to,” said Dr. Kelly Bidle, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “If people are interested in these types of courses, just contact our admissions office and come through our continuing education programs.”

Curtis has no plans to brake while studying at Rider University. She hopes to complete a master’s degree and do some social work for the good of her community. Coincidentally, she was randomly chosen to receive a year of free schooling. But Curtis believed the gift belonged to better hands and refused to accept.

“Students today have so much debt. I couldn’t take it in good faith,” she said. “I don’t need it for a career, while a lot of others do.”

To learn more about Rider University and its music course offerings, visit their website.

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