Graduation is sweet

October 05, 2006, volume 37, no. 3
By Diane Luckow

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Graduating with an honours degree, first class, is a proud accomplishment for any student. For Stan Green, however, it is all the sweeter because he's not your average student—he's 74 years young.

Green can still recall his English headmaster's words: "You are not university material." All these decades later, Green has trumped the headmaster, earning a grade point average of 3.97 out of a possible 4.33.

He is currently a master's candidate in English and is a tutorial assistant for an introductory English course in literature and culture.

Green's triumph is born out of tragedy. He entered SFU in 1994 out of a need to change his life's direction after his son Ross died in a car accident. He had already lost one son to cystic fibrosis, a disease that Ross also endured.

Green initially intended to pursue an extended minor in music and composition in the school for the contemporary arts. After taking several English courses, however, he realized he wanted to marry contemporary arts and literature and demonstrate their influence on each other.

His honours essay, James Joyces' Ulysses is a Virtual Gallery of Modern Art, earned an A+. His master's thesis will continue the comparison of British art and literature in the early 20th century.

"In 1994, when I started, I had no idea where this was going," says Green. "Now here I am, trying to cope with a master's program." He jokingly adds, "My fingernails are getting shorter and shorter."

Still, he hopes to finish his master's thesis by spring 2008 since, he observes, "Time is not my friend". Then he'd like to teach in the SFU seniors' program where he has enjoyed several credit courses under the tutelage of Alan Aberbach, whom he credits with creating a "fabulous program." It's my way of paying
back, of making a contribution."

In the meantime, he'll be enjoying his convocation ceremony.

"I cry at everybody's else's grad. God knows what I'm going to do at my own," he says. "I thought it would never come."

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