76-year-old K-State alum returns with ‘desire to learn’

(Photo Courtesy of Jerry Boettcher)

As many college students struggle to wake each day only to fall asleep later in class, they may find it unusual that 76-year-old Jarold “Jerry” Boettcher does not have that problem.

For Boettcher, learning is a thrill. He strives each day to seek the abundant opportunities available to him to enhance his knowledge in every aspect of life. He stays constantly alert of chances to gain connections, go new places and learn new things.

Boettcher, 1963 graduate in nuclear engineering, discovered later that engineering was not how he wanted to spend his life and went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management to study industrial management. Afterward, he went wherever his life took him, becoming a successful businessman and seeing the world.

When comparing courses at K-State from the 1960s to now, Boettcher said, “The essence of a classroom environment is still the same in that way that you learn from the other students.”

Now he takes audited classes, which means that he must ask professors to attend the classes. He does not get credit for these classes, but takes all the tests and writes all the papers as any other student. All adults over the age of 60 have this available to them. Most just do not know it, Boettcher said.

Boettcher said he wishes more people would take advantage of the opportunities they have with audited classes. He is also active in making this option more known.

“I have met with the faculty senate to request support for some kind of publicity campaign such as a button on the website to audit classes,” Boettcher said.

No action for this request has taken place yet, but he intends to make the request again to the faculty senate.

“He just loves stuff like that; he loves anything K-State, and he loves going to school,” Barbara Boettcher, Jerry’s wife, said.

She said she thought it was great when her husband decided to go back to school, and it has brought a whole new perspective to his life. She explained how going back to school has been a light in her husband’s life.

“I look at him, and he’s just always wanting to learn and be involved at K-State,” Barbara Boettcher, said.

Other than his wife, many have taken notice to the drive that Jerry Boettcher possesses.

“It is nice to see that people have the desire to learn past the point of just getting a degree and getting out,” Abby Austin, freshman in elementary education, said.

Jerry Boettcher’s commitment to learning is inspirational to many of those around him.

“Jerry brings the inspiration to never stop expanding your mind, even when you don’t have to any more,” Austin said.