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By Anna Sarkissian
After completing three degrees in the last 15 years (BA honours philosophy, MA philosophy, and a certificate in pastoral ministry), Rita Gillespie has nothing but good things to say about Concordia.
Now, she is ready to move on. Maybe.
“I’d do anything for this university, I can’t say enough about it,” she says. “To have a school like this helps integrate mature students is marvelous. I have a beautiful life and I owe it all to Concordia.”
The mother of two and grandmother of four dropped in on a philosophy course at a friend’s urging in the early 1990s. She was hooked.
Next thing you know, she was sitting down with Brigeen Badour, an advisor at the Student Transition Centre, to get acquainted with the university. Gillespie was shaking in her boots.
“I just fell at her lap. I would never have had this rewarding journey without Brigeen,” she says, also acknowledging the significant help of Pamela Bright from theological studies. “I couldn’t pick out any one course that was better than the other. I just grew and grew and grew.”
In nominating Gillespie to be a Great Grad, Badour called her an outstanding woman and a great ambassador for life-long learning, who “will continue to inspire many adult learners to follow their dreams.”
For now, Gillespie will be enjoying her summer with friends and family and hitting the links.
“I had a wonderful run at this life,” she says, “and I tell you, seize every moment. That’s what all the philosophers say.”
Are there more courses in her future? Gillespie admits that her kids don’t believe that she’s really done. “Oh, you’ll be back,’ they say. We’ll have to wait and see.”