Saint Martin’s senior Pam Sowers featured on Radio France
February 18, 2011
LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University senior Pam
Sowers recently was interviewed by Susan Owensby on a Radio
France International segment about life’s proudest moments.
Sowers spoke about how returning to college after 40 years has
transformed her life.
Calling her decision the best she ever made, Sowers
said she feels like she is “wide awake and full of
ideas” for the first time in years. Her initial fears
about fitting in and keeping up with younger students
have been replaced with understanding of how her career,
life experience and mature perspective add to the milieu
of the educational experience at Saint Martin’s. She
also spoke of the support and encouragement she has
found as a non-traditional student at the University.
To listen to the radio interview, visit
Sowers has never met a challenge she didn’t like.
After completing her associate’s degree in broadcast
communications at Centralia College, Sowers journeyed to
China where she taught English as a Second Language.
While there, she took a job teaching English on the
radio. After another radio job in Taiwan, she worked at
CBS News Radio, then at the University of Washington and
at a hospital.
Now 61, she is an outstanding example of the many
non-traditional students pursuing a higher education,
not always for economic reasons. The number of students
35 and older attending degree-granting institutions has
grown from just under 2.5 million in 1990 to just over 3
million in 2009, according to the National Center for
Educational Statistics. The Center projects a rise of 20
percent in enrollments of people 25 and over at
degree-granting institutions from 2007 to 2018.
“I’m determined to get my bachelor’s degree, then my
master’s and Ph.D. so I can teach ESL at the college
level,” says Sowers, an Olympia-area resident.
How’s she doing? Sowers will graduate from Saint
Martin’s University May 7 with a degree in English, a
minor in philosophy and a new job at a local radio
station. In November, she presented a paper originally
written for an ethics class before the Ninth Biennial
Radical Philosophy Association Conference in Eugene,
As time allows, Sowers also writes a blog encouraging
other would-be latecomers called “Late for Class: Back
to College after 60.” It can be read at:
Sowers can be contacted through the University’s
Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-438-4332,
Saint Martin’s University is an independent
four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on
a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington.
Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint
Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and
Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.
Saint Martin’s University prepares students for
successful lives through its 22 majors and six graduate
programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education,
and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students
from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main
campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located
at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia
College and Tacoma Community College.
For further information:
Vice president of marketing and communications
Saint Martin’s University