Accomplishment Of A Lifetime


It took a challenge from a college president, but after three years of fitting in classes with his fulltime job and family obligations, at the age of 60, Andrew H. Mick received his bachelor's degree.

A non-traditional student in interdisciplinary studies, Mick said he decided to earn his degree at the encouragement of MCLA President Mary K. Grant and because he chaired the executive committee of the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education.

A main goal of the Compact is to encourage all Berkshire County residents to earn a college degree.

It had been more than 30 years since he'd been in college, so Mick, the president of New England Newspapers Inc., wondered what it would be like to be back in the classroom with students who were less than half his age.

"I didn't know how people would take to me," he said.

As it so happened, the other students saw him as a mentor and sought him out as a resource. In turn, his interaction with the younger students helped him to understand them better.

Needing about 60 credits to complete his degree, Mick began a regime of one class each semester. He also participated in a college program one summer where he received 30 "life experience" credits. Additional credits came from a photo essay and paper he completed on a trip to Peru, prearranged as an independent study course with Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Marc Goldstein.

On Saturday, May 16, Mick graduated summa cum laude with a 3.966 grade point average. His wife, Laurie, provided tremendous support along the way. And, as a result of his experience at MCLA, the couple have set up an MCLA scholarship for others who apply to the College as non-traditional students.

"One of the biggest challenges for people who want to go back to school is figuring out if they have the time and the money to do it," he said.

The scholarship will provide non-traditional students with up to $1,000 each to get into their first class, buy their books and prove to themselves they can go back to school. Mick hopes others will find going to college to be as valuable and extraordinary an experience as his was.

"Even at 60, there is a huge sense of accomplishment for me," he said.