A baby boomer determined to be a life learner

Isn’t it great to hear about a fellow baby boomer who is still learning, still producing, still looking ahead?! That all fits in the case of Bob Touro of Jacksonville, Florida, who wrote to us here at BoomerCafé about his continuing quest to improve himself, and observe others. That’s what he’s doing for his dissertation — yes, he’s 67 and going for a doctorate — because This Boomer Is A Life Learner.

I entered the world in 1947 following my dad’s return from WWII. My life to date has been an interesting journey with very little planned; rather, it evolved. In high school I was average; passing was all that mattered. Upon graduation from high school I chose to go to Junior College for two years for an associate degree, unsure if I was ready for a four-year commitment.

Bob Touro

Bob Touro

I completed my program, pleased with my achievement. I began my career as a Junior Accountant, having majored in accounting and management. But I soon learned that an Associate Degree was insufficient to allow me to climb the corporate ladder quickly, so back to night school I went for my B.S.. My career blossomed and I determined that making beans was more important than counting them, so I changed direction and went into sales, which eventually transitioned into marketing management and the rest, as they say, is history. I was quite fortunate and successful in the disciplines of high tech, continuing to ply my trade for what has now been 46 years and counting.

In the early 90s, I survived the dot.com bomb, albeit too close for comfort. I decided it might be time for another backup plan and returned to school in 2002-2003 at 55-years of age to earn a Master’s in Education with an emphasis on adult learning and distance education. My degree program was 100 percent online, and I loved every minute of it. Then I applied for a position with another 100 percent online university program and began instructing in marketing and e-Business, in tandem with my day job as VP of Marketing for a Microsoft Partner firm. Thus I preach what I practice to my students based upon my real world experience.

Bob Touro (2nd from right) with fellow doctoral candidates.

Bob Touro (2nd from right) with fellow doctoral candidates.

Turning 65 the year before last, and recognizing that a Master’s wasn’t going to suffice for a continuing career in collegiate academia, I went back to earn my doctorate in management with a concentration in emerging media. I now am in my final year of study, currently working on my dissertation, which is entitled, Seniors, Entitlements and Social Media – Oh My!

My research is focused on the demographic shift from a relatively younger to an older majority populace; the effects and challenges of entitlements; and how social media may be an effective tool to connect, communicate, inform, and educate those of us who are older to be better prepared in this vastly different era where 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day through 2031. My research survey questionnaire can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XYVRZMT.

I invite fellow boomers to participate . Never in my fondest dreams did I ever think of teaching, let alone earning a doctorate at what will be 68-years of age at graduation. I guess it is true; you are never too old to learn new things.

12 Comments

    1. Thanks Lorie,

      I appreciate the note of support. I would appreciate you passing my survey link along to friends and family members who are of age (50+).

      Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Tam,

      Actually I am so glad I decided to go back to school, learning in the late 20th and early 21st Century is so much fun thanks to technology and the ability to study anytime, anywhere which works for today’s mobile populace. I would appreciate you passing my survey link along to friends and family so I can get the broadest and most diverse participants for my doctoral research. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my story.

  1. Bob, Congratulations! I applaud your renewed learning! For me, retirement has been like going back to college with one significant improvement. This time I am able to take all of the courses that I want to take, not the courses that I have to take. I utilize online courses and amazon for additional books. It is a wonderful feeling to be learning again. Best wishes, Bill

    1. Bill,

      You are so right my friend and I know exactly what you speak of in terms of learning what interests you as opposed to what others think you ought to know and learn. In my doctoral program, my interest piqued once I achieved my concentration courses (Emerging Media) whereas the core courses were required. I look forward to graduating so I can read for enjoyment as opposed to research, or at least blend the two. I also plan on writing a book too. I am a colon cancer survivor and want to tell and share my story with others who may be faced with that disease. But first things first, need to make it to the doctoral finish line, but the end is in sight. Thanks for reading and replying. Please take the time to complete my survey and pass it along to others who may qualify. Thank you Sir.

  2. Nice write-up classmate! I like that you included us hard working study-buddies of Cohort 31 in the article. Go CTU Doctoral Candidates! Studying for our passions is a way to grow old gracefully and usefully.

    1. Andy,

      (3rd from the left kneeling in the group shot) the reality is meeting and learning with you and the other members of our cohort has been the real bonus, wherein we met as strangers and have since become life-long friends. I guess you can relate to my story (wink, wink) as we share a common bond not only in education but age too (but I won’t tell anyone, my lips are sealed – LOL). Thanks for the post and reply Andy. All the best my friend.

    1. Eric,

      Thank you, I am so happy BoomerCafe afforded me the opportunity to share my story. As boomers we are both living and working longer productive lives and going to school well into our years is beneficial to keep us and our minds alert, active, current and relevant. So many of us have valuable career experiences to share and education is a wonderful way to leverage that knowledge and experience. I instruct adult learners, one of the eldest was 81, a lady from Brooklyn, NY who had 18 children, many of whom had gone on to professional careers in medicine, law and similar fields of endeavor. She noted her decision to earn a degree was to fulfill a lifetime dream of a college education. She had forgone earning a degree in her earlier life to support her family. I thought that was a wonderful story to hear and am happy to share it. Thanks for your kind comments Eric.

  3. I would love to go back to school and get my degree so that I could teach. I have always loved History and thought that was the subject where I could do the most good and spark the most imagination in students.

    I think more Boomers would go back to school in retirement if it didn’t cost as much as it does to get an education. We have the time now but definitely not the money to go back to school.

    Congrats on the accomplishment Bob. Maybe if we ever have a home again I will think about going back to school.

    1. Florence,

      Please forgive the delay in replying to you sooner. As for your desire to instruct history, it may be quite possible and affordable. Depending on where you live, several states and communities will actually sponsor your education provided you are willing to work and teach children in urban or remote school districts which are in need of quality teachers. Most states have teacher education courses, where you can earn your degree and achieve the appropriate educational certifications necessary to teach K-12. I have seen several programs where the tuition is paid for those willing to commit to those types of programs. You can investigate teaching opportunities online by conducting several web-based searches. The Federal Government has a “Teach Grant” for individuals willing to work in low-income / high need field. Check the program out at studentaid.ed.gov.

      Good luck and do endeavor to pursue your dream. Good luck.

      Bob

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