Betty Stanley ’52 may have graduated from Central six decades ago, but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing all sorts of educational possibilities throughout her life.
Professor of sociology Jonathan Witt’s “Social Problems” course had one extra student last semester.
Betty Stanley ’52 commuted 20 minutes from Oskaloosa three days a week to join class discussions. Eighty-eight years young, Stanley is no stranger to Central and an academic environment.
Stanley and her late husband, Jack ’49, graduated from Central College. Jack, a Pearl Harbor survivor, started at Central after being discharged from the Navy. Stanley, who was already certified to teach, taught at Webster Elementary when the school sat across the street from Central’s campus. She still pursued her education, though, taking classes one-on-one with professors to slowly earn home economics and elementary education degrees.
Stanley’s education didn’t stop with Central. During the 40 years she spent teaching second grade in Oskaloosa, she went back to school to earn a master’s degree from Drake University in curriculum development. Betty and Jack also traveled extensively during their summers off from school. Even while preparing for vacation, Stanley would learn what she could about where they were going.
“Whenever I traveled,” says Stanley, “I took advanced classes and then shared the information with my students to show them that I was still learning, too.”
Several years after her husband’s passing in 2003, Stanley began looking for a new way to keep learning. Thinking about auditing a college class, her friend Lynne Petty from Central’s alumni office, arranged it. In 2011, she took a course titled “Jesus and the Gospels.” Last semester, she learned about outsourcing in “Social Problems.”
“It is always stimulating to be in an academic climate and to be challenged by these bright, young students,” says Stanley. “I hope my mature years and variety of life experiences have added to their lives.”
Stanley has remained connected to Central in other ways, as well. She and her husband established the Jack and Betty Stanley Scholarship to help other students continue their education. Stanley is also a member of Central’s Heritage Society, Cornerstone Society and RED Society.
Stanley won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Besides her participation at Central, she also is heavily involved in the First Christian Church in Oskaloosa, teaching an adult Sunday school class, working with kids on Wednesday nights and serving meals at the end of the month.
“I hope I have demonstrated my faith through giving of my time, talent and resources,” says Stanley.
“We have to work on keeping the joy in our lives,” she continues. “People ask me whether or not I’m happy with my life. I reply that I’m at peace with my life, and I’m content. I will be forever grateful for my good health and that my mind and body allow me to enjoy the privileges, challenges and responsibilities that enrich my life.”