I am 75 years old and this is my 10th year attending Washburn University and I still have not graduated! Is this because I am a slow learner? No, not exactly. You see I am a senior audit student and thus do not get a grade and I do not receive college credit and I do not pay for classes except for the exorbitant prices of the textbooks. I just bought a textbook for modern physics that cost over $300! Back in medical school I think the most I ever paid for a book was $25 but that was a long, long time ago!
I enjoy learning, which relates back to when I started my studies as a traditional university student in Detroit where I grew up. I started out as physics major but had the good fortune to be accepted to medical school in the beginning of my second year in liberal arts. I was among the ten of us selected for the first medical class of an experimental educational program called the 2-4-2 at Wayne State University School of Medicine. This new experiment in education was an eight year program that required the completion of pre-med classes in the first two years of university work and then four additional years of going to both liberal arts and medical school at the same time with combining the last two years of liberal arts with the first two years of medical school and a degree in liberal arts. My liberal arts degree ended up in chemistry and psychology. The last two years were the clinical years in the hospitals leading to an M.D. degree. The dean that meets weekly with the ten of us selected for the 2-4-2 programs was a mentor for us and a renowned psychoanalyst. Three of us went on for further training to become psychiatrists. That is how I came to Topeka for my psychiatric residency at Menninger’s.
Menninger’s was a source of intellectual stimulation for me and when they left Topeka for Houston, Washburn University filled the void. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to go back to school as a senior audit student and learn from the younger generation and also to contribute my own experiences in terms of classroom involvement. The small class sizes and the friendship relationships with the instructors and students was a sharp contrast compared to the large class sizes at Wayne State University in Detroit. In fact, one class I took had only one student and three of us were senior audit students. The class was the second relativity course in the Physics department on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and was a truly intellectual challenge and broadened my mathematical knowledge. I thought linear algebra was something to do with a straight line and had no idea that it was about matrices! The point is, going back to school I soon realized how much I did not know. I had to take calculus and analytic geometry for medical school and thought that was all there was in math until I started taking the advanced physics classes! Not having to worry about grades has allowed me to take challenging classes outside my field of expertise as a physician.
I have taken Tai-chi, Yoga, aquatic exercise, weight lifting and scuba diving.
I have taken a broad range of subjects from the arts to the sciences. A few of the classes I have taken at Washburn University in the area of languages have been Chinese, German and Italian. I plan to take Japanese in the fall. In the sciences I have taken Historical Geology and Geology. I have taken a number of physics courses including, Astronomy, Optics, Theoretical Mechanics, Digital Electronics, Computers, Elementary Computational Physics and Special and General Relativity Theory. I enjoyed taking music appreciation and guitar in addition to creative fiction writing and creative nonfiction writing. I also took scuba diving and became certified scuba diver. In art, I have taken outside landscape painting classes, Creative Printmaking: Intaglio, Photography, basic multimedia, ceramics, Advanced Oil Painting-Photorealism, Art and Culture Abroad, and Psychological Theories & Art Therapy.
I took online classes in in cognitive psychology, abnormal psychology, and World Regional Geography. A class in Morita Therapy fit with my profession of psychiatry and my interest in Zen. In Theater I took a classes in improvisational acting and this summer a class in Drama Classics on Video. I will be taking this summer a biology class on evolution. I took three multidepartment classes on Darwin, World Lit and Geography, and Reflections on Water. I have taken Philosophy of love and sex, Philosophy of Mind, William James, Metaphysics, and Religions East and West.
The above are some of the classes I have taken and enjoyed over the past ten years.
At the same time I have been going to Washburn University I have continued my professional career as a board certified psychiatrist here in Topeka and still have my private psychiatric office at 3601 SW 29th, Suite 103. Over the years I have been the clinical medical director of several mental health centers and have provided psychiatric services to the military and the prison systems. I have taught courses at the American Psychiatric association and classes for Columbia Extension College on Industrial Psychology and Creativity.
I have been the president of the Kansas Psychiatric Society and received an award as a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. I have contributed to the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental disorders and listed in the 3rd and 5th edition of the DSM3 and DSM5.
I have been president of the Saturday Night Literary Club and current president of the Atheist Community of Topeka. I have had a life long interest in astronomy and am a member of the North East Kansas Amateur Astronomical League (NEKAAL). In San Diego I gave a scientific poster presentation to the Aerospace Medical Association on the Mars-One project in which I was among the oldest astronaut applicant to be in the first selection group to go on a one-way trip to Mars in 10 years but because of age did not end up in the current group of 100 of which only 24 will train and four will be selected for the 7 month journey to colonize Mars and never return back to earth.
As a senior audit student I have felt a positive bond with Washburn University in terms of continuing my educational interests and making new friends. Washburn University continues to play a positive role in our community with a variety of cultural events including the theatrical performances at the Washburn Theater.
I have traveled in India and stayed at Symbiosis University in Pune with Any Vogel in the International program and then Peru through the Washburn art department. These trips with Washburn students were a truly educational experience. Washburn University is truly a place of intellectual enrichment.
The physical improvements of the campus over the years are another plus in the Washburn University experience. The new buildings and the pleasant setting in the capital city of Kansas is another plus. The university is easy to get to compared to my experience in Detroit where with the traffic it could take an hour to commute.
I look forward to continuing my education at Washburn University as a very senior audit student. The traditional four years of University is only a beginning not an end.
I have presented the following papers over the years to the Saturday Night Literary club that was first started in 1883 in Topeka. My first paper was not back in the 1800’s since I am really not that old. It was on September 8, 2001 and titled “Altered States of Consciousness A Personal Account of an LSD Experiment.
Other essays were: Zen and My Brain (A Psychiatrist’s Perspective), A STATE OF MIND: A LOOK AT SANCTIONED IRRATIONAL BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOR, Metaphysics of Mind, “What In The “…” Is The DSM 5 ,“One Way Trip To Mars” MARS NO RETURN (Fact or Fiction?), FAITH BASED TERRORISM (A REALISTIC ASSESSMENT OF THE REASONS FOR THE WORLD WIDE TERRORISTIC CONSEQUENCES OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE TO CIVILIZATION RESULTING FROM CENTURIES OF FAITH BASED THINKING BELIEFS.).