Just a Number

Trixy and Arthur Mathys are a married pair of San Antonio’s senior citizens auditing a class at UTSA.

Just a Number

San Antonio’s senior citizens return to their educations by auditing classes at UTSA

[ This article was originally published in UTSA newsletter The Discourse in January 1976 ]

Gray hair is as typical on college campuses today as long hair and beards were five years ago. UTSA is no exception to this trend. In addition to several “older” students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs (UTSA’s oldest coed in 1976 is 81), 10 senior citizens are auditing classes this fall. They are the first participants to enjoy a state law allowing people 65 years or older to audit classes at public universities free of charge.

These senior citizens attend classes for the sheer love of learning. As auditors, the 10 attend all class sessions, participate in discussions, and read the text—but they are excused from tests, assignments, etc., since they receive no credit.

John Evans is a typical example. A sociology graduate of Southern Methodist University, he is auditing four philosophy courses this semester as he prepares for his 80th birthday.

Some 50 years have passed since Tommy Lane studied engineering and science at Rice University. Now he’s back in school again, auditing a physics and chemistry course.

A married couple—Arthur and Trixy Mathys—are also among UTSA’s senior auditors. Despite 50 years of marriage, the pair had never attended class together until this fall. Now they audit the art history class Renaissance to Modern Art.

UTSA is pleased to have the senior citizens at the school, according to Kenneth Ashworth, executive vice president. “We will be happy to have senior citizens audit courses when space is available, Ashworth commented.

He adds, “We all hope that in our later years we are physically vigorous. Why not mentally vigorous as well?”