Firsthand—experiences with aging

By John Anderson 

I retired in June 2006 after 39 years in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics. One of my post-retirement activities has been participation in Nature of Life (NOL), a College of Biological Sciences (COB) program I helped develop in response to a U-wide initiative to improve student retention and graduation rates. Since retirement, the details of my participation have changed, but the fun of interacting with young people who are enthusiastic about joining the U of M community has not.

All CBS freshmen are required to attend NOL prior to their first semester at the U. Sessions occur in July at the Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories and last three days. NOL provides opportunity for the students to get acquainted with some of their future classmates, meet several faculty, and participate in activities designed to help the freshmen feel a part of the college and succeed as university students.

Each evening I have the privilege of introducing the traditions of the college and the university. Topics range from unique aspects of CBS to why we are known as Gophers. The students also learn to sing Hail! Minnesota and the Minnesota Rouser.

More than 6,000 students have participated in NOL over the past 16 years, and it is gratifying to know that I have played a role in helping these students integrate into the University community and graduate in a timely fashion. It is great fun to be a part of this activity, and interacting with young people helps me maintain a youthful perspective in life. So, I have eagerly agreed to participate in six more NOL sessions this coming July.


If you would like to share a firsthand experience related to health and aging, please contact Ron Anderson, UMRA Cares Committee, at [email protected].