For the joy of learning’

For the joy of learning

by Kelsey Christianson

He never misses class, but he’s not expecting a grade orcredit.

He has a master’s degree, but he’s choosing to come and learnmore.

Most of us can’t wait to finish school, but he keeps comingback.

Lowell Titus, 78, has been auditing courses at Simpson for morethan three years. This semester, Titus is taking Art 143 – PotteryI – which meets Monday and Wednesday nights.

“I’m not competing with anybody for grades,” Titus said. “Mostpeople think that when I say I am auditing a course I just listenin, but I like to be involved and participate.”

Titus takes one course per semester, and this is his ninthcourse at Simpson College.

Titus received bachelor’s of science in civil engineering fromIowa State University in 1950 followed by a master’s degree inenvironmental engineering from ISU. Going back to school afternearly 50 years hasn’t been too tough for Titus.

“I haven’t found it difficult. I take all the tests, write allthe papers, and if there is a presentation assigned, I get up anddo it,” Titus said.

Titus chose the pottery class because he made a clay turtle inthird grade and wanted to see if he could do it again.

Although he has taken other courses at Simpson, he says theart-related pottery class is different because of the younger groupand the fact that it is hands-on.

“I enjoy intergenerational experiences,” Titus said. “Most ofthe classes I have taken have had another student that is half myage, but this time all the students are young people. I am enjoyingthe situation.”

Students and professors alike enjoy Titus’s company.

Richard Kazmerzak, the pottery teacher this semester, enjoyshaving Titus in class.

“I think it is fabulous that Lowell is taking this class. I feelthat we can learn as much from him as I can teach him,” Kazmerzaksaid. “I hope it’s a two-way street.”

Titus has had an effect on students also taking the potterycourse, including senior Justin Kinkel-Schuster.

“Lowell is an interesting person in that he has a Master’sdegree and a long, successful career and life under his belt andyet he still takes classes, just for the sheer joy of learning,”Kinkel-Schuster said. “His quest for knowledge is admirable, and heis chock full of interesting stories and information – someone wecould all look to for a little something.”

Titus’ character shows in his outfits, for example: blue plaidpants, a yellow and blue dolphin-printed button-down shirt, andwhite and silver high-top tennis shoes.

His friendly, easy-going attitude is evident at first glance. Inbetween his life stories, he makes jokes about how he’s growing oldand doesn’t hear so well anymore.

Though he speaks slowly, his words are full of wisdom.

“In my history course, I lived through the periods that we werelearning about, so I could add a personal touch in that way,” Titussaid. “I also took an international business class, and I added alot to that, too.”

Titus has traveled throughout his life. He’s visited more than35 countries. His experiences have shaped his life, and now Titususes that knowledge to influence the lives of a youngergeneration.

“[The other students] have been very good to me. I’ve had someof them come to me and tell me that they really appreciate me,”Titus said.

Titus is retired and lives with his wife of more than 50 years,Norma, in The Village Retirement Center in Indianola.

With all his life experiences, Titus has no regrets. “If I hadto do it over again I would do it about the same way.”