76-year-old Red Deer man graduates from RDC

Art Plunz graduates in the same week as his two granddaughters

It was up to the stage again for Red Deer College graduate Art Plunz. And it’s not the 76-year-old’s first time around.

He received his latest degree for dentistry in 1977 and before that received Associates Art at Regina College, Bachelor of Education and Mathematics at the University of Regina and then a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Saskatoon. “And so this is just a continuation,” he said with a laugh.

The past week was also a busy one for his family.

In the span of one week, two of his grandchildren – Brittany Thompson and Lexi Blanchard – graduated from high school.

“We had a very busy week,” said Plunz, who graduated June 2nd. He said he’s really enjoyed his educational journey.

“I’ve always enjoyed school and typically we (he and his wife Jacqueline) would spend our winters in Mexico for six months; six months in Mexico, six months in Red Deer and two years ago we decided that we would not go down that winter and I said I’ve got to find something to do.”

He had been looking at classes all along and decided on psychology, so it was off to Red Deer College for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

He completed the degree in two years, as he got credit for some of his other degrees towards it.

Throughout his long and healthy life, Plunz has done lots of instructing himself at both the university and college level.

“I’ve had a variety of careers, but I taught at the elementary, the high school and the university levels for a number of years,” he said.

Having been a teacher, a dentist, a recreation consultant for the provincial government of Saskatchewan and being involved in many businesses, psychology was just another on his list. “I’ve always loved school.”

He said just learning all the technology was interesting as there was lots of tech education that went into it, too.

“I consider myself somewhat computer literate but my gosh with the way they’ve presented the classes now, it’s phenomenal and great.”

He said he was all prepared to listen to lectures and make his notes in long-hand, but, he said, it doesn’t quite work that way anymore. “So my fellow students would help me out.”

He said the whole experience was a lot of fun.

“I was often mistaken for the instructor and a very old instructor because they have a very, I would say, young staff and faculty and that’s reflected in their approach to the whole thing,” said Plunz.

Even with the age gap, however, all were accepting of him.

“I met a lot of really neat people, and in fact I even knew some of their grandparents,” he said with a laugh.

Although Plunz won’t be using his current degree, he won’t be doing nothing.

He and his wife will most likely go back to Mexico in the winter as they were both quite active down there, with him doing some dentistry work in the rural areas and his wife teaching. Both taught English at a Mexican school, taking part in lots of volunteer work, too.

“Neither one of us can sit still for very long, so we’ll be doing something,” said Plunz with a laugh.

He and his wife have three children and 11 grandchildren.

“We’ve encouraged all of our grandchildren ‘go to school, get to school, get more education’, that’s never a mistake,” said Plunz.

Looking back on his life, Plunz said there isn’t just one good moment.

“I think that we have never looked back. We’re sort of list makers, and we make lists on things that we want to do. All the pros and all the cons.” He said each of the decisions both he and his wife make, they don’t look back on and regret.

“The one thing we’re pleased about is each of our decisions we’ve enjoyed, and if there’s something ever in life that you don’t like, quit, change it, get out, don’t continue on with it.”

And it’s never too late to go back to school. “I was a senior student with three children and I went to dentistry and that was quite an experience. In fact one of my students was a classmate.”

It’s not only school that’s kept him and his wife busy. The two also have their pilot licenses and have ridden motorcycles. Athletics-wise, he has played football, enjoyed swimming and more.

“I can’t sit still,” he said with a laugh. He is also physically active, riding his bike everyday about 15 kms and going on walks. “Fortunately both my wife and I have been blessed with very good health.”

The couple are retired and currently live in Red Deer.