70 year old UWFox student sets sights on Ph.D.

Thomas Thomson, 70, has peers in their 20s at UW-Fox Valley.

Thomas Thomson’s educational career did not end when he began working as a microwave technician for AT&T Long Lines in Chicago and Iron Mountain, Mich.

It did not end when he retired from that 26-year career in 1989.

It did not end when he later worked as a truck driver, bus driver and electronic/digital security consultant to several correctional institutions, including in Wisconsin.

It did not end after he studied culinary arts at Fox Valley Technical College in 2008 and 2009.

The Kimberly senior’s educational career brought him to UW-Fox Valley in Menasha, where he’s been a student since the fall of 2010.

 "I want to be a historian. I’m pursuing my B.A. in American Studies through that collaborative program that UWFox has with UW-Stevens Point," he says. “My main occupation right now is as a full-time student with the goal of earning my Ph.D. within the next 10 years.”

Thomas is 70, the father of three children who all have graduate degrees and the grandfather of nine, including three now in college.

“I chose UWFox because it’s close to home, less expensive than some other campuses, and it’s fully accredited,” he says. “I have tentative plans to finish up at Michigan Tech in Houghton because I have vacation property near there.”

For now, he’s enjoying UW-Fox Valley.

“It’s a good relaxed atmosphere for me and the professors are very knowledgeable,” he says. “I have a peer relationship with 22-year-olds as well as with some of my professors. I really like the interaction with the younger people and students at the campus. They’re intellectually stimulating and optimistic about the future.”

Asked about his future career plans, he says, “I presently have no career goals, as I’ve ‘been there/done that.’ Although my dad nearly earned his Ph.D., he didn’t complete it. I want to do what no one in my family ever did: attain my Ph.D.”

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