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WS Audiology - October 2021

A Note from the Youngest to the Oldest (in Class)

A Note from the Youngest to the Oldest (in Class)
Kevin P. Ruggle
August 8, 2000
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I learned a great deal in my first course at the Arizona School of Health Sciences this June. In the inaugural class we had 33 students and at least that many personalities! I learned that at 33 years of age, I was the youngest student in class. I am used to being the youngest, being number 10 (yes, 10) in my own family.

It's easy to understand why I am enrolled in the Au.D. program. I have 25-30 years left in my career. I seek education and knowledge for myself and I believe the doctoral direction is the right and appropriate next step for our profession.

However, one of the most impressive lessons for me was Not academic, but was acquired through a simple, electronic bulletin board posting by the oldest member of our class, Herbert McCollom, age 68.

I know many of you know Herb personally.

The question I posed was two-fold ''Why are you seeking the Au.D.? and, How will it benefit you?''

This is how the senior member of our class responded:

''What did I plan to do with an Au.D.? Or, to put it another way, why do I even try to get one? Simply put, I knew that to have a Ph.D. and work with the public was frowned upon by our peers. I should want to be a professor, instead. So I stopped short of the dissertation in 1966 and began working with the public. What I wanted wasn't available then ... a graduate professional degree. Now at age 68, I want to get it and continue to practice long enough to scare the bejeezus out of other audiologists and force them to sign up. Also, I am visible in audiology -- having been a part of it for 41 years. I want a lot of my colleagues to think, if that guy can
do it, so can I.''

Herb, I believe your wish has been answered. Audiologists are seeking distance education programs in powerful numbers. I am inspired by the names I see in my classes, many of whom are well known due to their positions, contributions, and/or successful practices.

This is a group I am proud to be a part of. I enjoy learning with and from them.

Herb, we all know you didn't have to take these courses. The fact that you chose to pursue your doctorate at age 68, speaks volumes about your character and your desire to look beyond personal gain for a higher
purpose, the future of our profession. Nobody would have blamed you for cruising through until retirement. In your position I might well have taken the easier road.

Nobody told Herb to get his doctorate, and nobody told me to write this. Some things are just done because they are right. From the youngest to the oldest: Thanks Herb, for leading by example

Grand Rounds Series | New recorded webinars available!

Kevin P. Ruggle



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