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Loving learning at age 80

Posted on Dec 19, 2013
Part of a 35th anniversary series of interviews with alumni, faculty and staff
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Kay Slack, Class of 1982

Kay Slack, Class of 1982

We sat down recently with alumnae Kay Slack '82 to talk about her experiences with distance learning at UW-Superior.

What was the impetus for you to enroll in the UW-Superior Extended Degree Program [now Distance Learning Center]?
I wanted to get a master's degree in psychology, but I first needed to complete my bachelor's degree. It was a good place for me because I was able to test out of some of the prerequisites and some classes could be done at home. I also received credit for life experience. And I loved (and still love) learning!

What was your work experience?
I had a three-year nursing degree from the University of Michigan. I worked at the VA in Ann Arbor, MI, while my husband was in med school. We moved to Duluth in 1957 for my husband's one-year internship at St. Mary's, and after his three-year residency in Detroit, were turned to Duluth in 1961 to join the Duluth Clinic. I was working at Miller Dwan in their Pain Control Unit when I decided to go back to school.

Were your children at home when you pursued your bachelor's degree at UW-Superior?
One son was in high school.

Were you working while you attended school?
Around that time, I was serving as chair of the United Way board; we were working on a project to launch what is now the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

What was the Extended Degree Program at UW-Superior like at that time?
It was a new program, and involved taking classes on campus, as well as home study. I remember learning about computer programming with punch cards!

What was your major?
I designed my own major - Behavioral Science. My advisor was helpful in assisting me in putting my plan together.

Do any of your classes from that year stand out in your memory?
I remember taking an interesting class on campus in moral ethics. There were so many classes I wished I could have taken, but I wanted to finish as quickly as possible. I designed an independent study class in human sexuality for myself.

Did you go on to finish your master's?
Yes, I received my M.A. in Psychology from UMD in 1986. When I graduated, I was the only grandmother to earn my M.A. at UMD for that particular year!

Did you go on to work in your field?
I was a counselor at UMD and an instructor in the Psychology Department; I retired in 1994.

Have you continued to take classes?
Yes! I'm 80 now, but I've never stopped learning. I've taken classes in accounting, music, and I'm enrolled in University for Seniors.

Would you say the UW-Superior Extended Degree Program achieved your goals?
Yes; it got me where I wanted to go.

News Contact: Mary Zimmerman | mzimme11{atuws}
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