There's a lot more to be said about the career and contributions of Dr. Robert Boyd.
To sum it up, call him Bob, career teacher, lifelong learner.
Bob is a North Dakota native who retired a couple of years ago after 32 years at UND, the last few as vice president for student affairs. Prior to that he served as dean of outreach programs, which included the university's continuing education programs. OLLI@UND was launched on his watch.
At Bob's retirement party on campus, UND President Robert Kelley said, "He's a true gentleman, someone we all aspire to be like."
Before all of that, Bob taught math in the classroom in Mohall—where he twice won Outstanding Young Educator awards—later becoming principal of the state's largest high school, Magic City in Minot, where then and since, he racked up even more awards, honors and kudos as an educator.
That's a whole lot of teaching and learning in one person's life—but it didn't end there with Bob's retirement.
Though "retired" is his work status, Bob still is busy with and passionately committed to the principle that no one is ever too old to learn.
Or, in his case, to teach.
Bob says when he was running UND's continuing education division, he honed his commitment to lifelong learning.
"I saw the value of providing non-credit learning, knowing that people don't always want to pursue degrees, they're pursuing knowledge," Bob said. "We offered a fair amount of non-credit activities for professionals and for the general public. When I became a UND vice president, the division of continuing education was part of my portfolio. And that's when I heard about The Bernard Osher Foundation, which funded non-credit learning experiences for folks of retirement age and older."
UND ended up connecting—mostly through the tireless and relentless effort, Bob notes, of OLLI@UND coordinator Connie Hodgson—to an Osher Foundation endowment to UND of $1 million.
"I'd never held a check for a million dollars in my life," Bob said. "That was truly an exciting day for us. I was very proud of our division and recognized that it took a lot of effort to make that (endowment) happen."
Today, Bob takes and teaches OLLI courses.
"I'm an active learner myself, and will be a lifelong learner," he said. "Just because you hit 50 doesn't mean you quit learning. My role is to help people remain active learners. I teach OLLI classes to contribute to keeping it an active learning community. I found some topics that people found interesting, and that's a thrill for me."
After K-12, where folks learn the basics and build on those fundamentals, comes college, where it's a time to start focusing on professions or careers. Then there's professional, or continuing, education.
"Next is what I call the fifth phase, when each of us discovers learning for the sake of learning," Bob said. "And with OLLI, it's not just the joy of learning because of my curiosity, it's the joy of learning together with others, to have conversations about, for example, Abraham Lincoln with no examination, no learning targets, at your own pace."
That, says Bob, is a big reward.
"It's absolutely thrilling to allow people the freedom to pursue something intellectual with only one motivation: learning," he said.