“You are never too old to set a new goal”
Charles E. Fitz-Gerald
M.A. in Theatre, '23
At 85 years of age, Regent’s oldest graduate.
I was surprised to learn that it appears that I am the oldest graduate of Regent University. At age 85, I suppose I should not be amazed, but I never regard myself as old, so I am always jarred by an evincement of my years such as this.
I graduated in 1959 from Syracuse University with an undergraduate degree in Theatre. Noted actor, Fran Langella was among my classmates. When Regent University required my transcript for graduate school, I envisioned someone from Syracuse rummaging through boxes in a musty basement searching for it.
After graduation, I did not pursue a career in the theatre. My widowed mother struggled on a schoolteacher’s salary to put me through Syracuse, and I did not feel I could submit her to the prospect of a struggling actor/playwright waiting tables in New York City. However, I was able to forge a successful career in business: first in publishing in the college textbook area and as the owner of bookstores, and later in the trade association field. I was aided in my career in no small way by the presentation and communication skills I learned as a theatre major.
When my son, Timothy, was a sophomore in high school, he became interested in theatre and asked me to drive him to an audition for West Side Story. We both ended up being cast. This inaugurated a twenty-five-year period for me in which I appeared in over thirty plays in the Capital District of New York where we lived. My son went on to graduate from Syracuse University with a degree in musical theatre and enjoyed a twenty-year professional performing career on Broadway, on tour, and in regional productions.
In 2020, after almost fifty years of living in Troy, New York, I moved to Georgia to be near my son and his family. Timothy had gone back to school to obtain his master’s degree in Theatre Pedagogy and became a professor of musical theatre at LaGrange College. With both my son and daughter-in-law holding master’s degrees in theatre, I was beginning to feel the need to upgrade my credentials and decided to apply to graduate school. It was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and with no options to attend school in person, I searched for a program that would fit my needs through distance learning. Regent University was the ideal answer. Regent has mastered the mechanics of the pedagogical process of delivering academic material and fostering intellectual inquiry in online learning. Moreover, in all my classes, I felt a connection and appreciation from my instructors. I loved the process of academic exploration and although there was not one class I did not appreciate; I savored my studies in “Theatre History” and “History of the American Musical”.
I would recommend Regent University to anyone considering an undergraduate or graduate degree by way of distance learning. Regent has perfected the craft of this form of teaching. In addition, the integration of Biblical perspectives is enlightening and relevant to the subject matter without being forced.
As C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal and to dream a new dream.” By achieving a 4.0 GPA at Regent, I am encouraged to continue my studies. Although a Ph.D. may not be practical, I am considering a second master’s degree. In the meantime, I am pursuing the production of my play Willie Foster’s Appeal which was written for my playwriting class at Regent University.