Happy and Learning at Any Age

Happy and Learning at Any Age
English professor Don Gallehr was one of several Mason faculty members featured in a PBS NewsHour segment. Creative Services photo

By Michele McDonald

The country’s workforce is growing older and working past traditional retirement age, so it’s no surprise that some professors keep teaching even after they reach age 65.

“If the kids are happy and learning and I’m happy and learning, I’m here,” English professor Don Gallehr, 71, says in a recent segment on the PBS NewsHour by economic correspondent Paul Solman.

Gallehr joins a discussion with other academics about how professors are working past retirement age, including Mason professors Lou Buffardi, Miriam Raskin and Terry Zawacki. Some of them are participating in Mason’s phased retirement program for faculty.

The number of professors over age 65 has more than doubled since 2000, and 75 percent plan to work past the usual retirement age, Solman says. That’s in comparison to 40 percent of all workers, he says.

Last year, Mason won a grant from the American Council on Education for its innovative retirement programs.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu