MONTPELIER – Adult learners enrolled in Union Institute & University’s BA Colloquium Program will join in College Hall Chapel on the Vermont College of Fine Art campus, 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 5 to take part in the BA Colloquium Commencement. The new graduates and their families are converging in Montpelier from the across the country; 81-year-old commencer Joan Ashley will be joined by her children who are traveling from Asia to see their mother earn her bachelor’s degree.
Learners enrolled in the Montpelier Center’s BA Colloquium program attend two or three week-long residencies in Montpelier and complete the remainder of their coursework at a distance. “Most of our commencers are adult learners who did not find satisfaction at traditional schools, but who flourished at Union, where they were able to do independent and self-designed study,” said Gail MacDonald, assistant director of the program.
Soon-to-be-graduate Joan Ashley of Hanover, NH, was drawn to the program’s flexibility and the opportunity to create a program based on her individual interests, talents, and unique experiences. With the help of UI&U professors, she was able to create a program that allowed her to incorporate her vast knowledge of the world with her work with NGOs.
“I think saying ‘yes’ has opened many doors for me. I thrive on new experiences, and I often say yes and then I see where it leads me,” said Joan. “I cannot say enough about Union’s program,” said Joan. “The faculty is superb, and I love the diversity of the learners. We are of all ages and backgrounds, and when we get together we have real conversation. We find we really care about each other.”
Joan’s children, including two traveling from Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, will present her with her diploma. The commencement will also feature a keynote address by BA faculty Marty McMahon. For more information on the UI&U commencement, please contact Gail MacDonald at 802-828-8815 or Nicole Hamilton at 513-487-1194.