June 24, 2001 11:00 pm

Carol Kroll and her daughter, Jennifer, who graduated on the same day June 16 from different universities, are representative of a new trend in higher education. Education is becoming not just something you do for 12 or 16 years, but for all of your life. And age doesnt matter as far as pursuing higher education, although attitude and a sense of adventure in learning is important.

The story comes at the same time Eastern Oregon University is experiencing great growth in numbers of incoming freshman and graduates. It also comes as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan points out that learning will increasingly need to be a lifelong activity.

Non-typical, older students are becoming a bigger portion of the EOU population. The challenges they face as they go to school and also raise families can be daunting. But the rewards are great, including having the opportunity to make higher salaries.

People must remember, too, that higher education is not just about preparing for a career. Education can be life-enhancing, and it should be something we pursue whether we are on a campus or in our own home.

The nature of Greenspans comments were that todays students, whatever age, need to be prepared for an ever-changing, high-technology workplace. Students will have to be dedicated to lifelong education to survive in this environment, being willing to learn and master new skills at any age.

Universities such as Eastern can dedicate themselves to developing innovations. They can be research places that will help make America a world leader in science, health, agriculture and other areas.

Easterns challenge is to be able to prepare students to meet these evolving demands for knowledge and skills. The teachers EOU sends into the world will also be charged with this responsibility. Parents today need to make not only their kids education their top priority but their own education as well for a lifetime.


Another person proving that youre never too old for adventure, whether it is mental or physical, is Caroline Purdon of Yakima. Purdon, 82, is a bicyclist who has crossed the United States four times. She has visited 48 states on two wheels, and remarkably only took up bicycling at age 65 when she retired from a career in nursing.

Besides the United States, she has biked in Canada, Belgium and New Zealand, logging about 40,000 miles on the road.

So if youre young or old, its never too late to take up a new adventure. Whether youre going back to college or bicycling around the world, you can set your mind on something and step by step achieve that goal. Your life will be richer.