Shannon ’57, left, is studying for a doctorate in education,
and Albert Beveridge ’57 for a Ph.D. in history. (Chris
Taggart/Courtesy Albert Beveridge ’57)
Retire? Nah Michael J. Shannon ’57 and Albert J. Beveridge III
’57 head back to school for advanced degrees
When it comes to retirement, some polish their golf games while
others resurrect neglected hobbies. Not classmates Michael J. Shannon
’57 and Albert J. Beveridge III ’57. They decided to
hit the books and earn advanced degrees.
Shannon, an industrial designer who switched to educational consulting
in the mid-1980s, is doing field work for his doctoral thesis on
adult learning in the Department of Organization and Leadership
at Teachers College, Columbia University. Beveridge is in the third
year of a doctoral program at Johns Hopkins, retooling his legal
skills into those of a historian.
Is it tough to be the oldest kid in the class? Both 69-year-olds
say they’re over it — there’s too much work to
An architecture major at Princeton, Shannon went back to school
in 1989 to pursue a deeper understanding of educational philosophy
and strengthen his credentials as an educational consultant. He
took a long time to get through the coursework for his doctorate
in education (Ed.D.). While studying how people participate in civic
affairs and what motivates civic engagement, he was busy starting
up a community foundation in Englewood, N.J., where he lives. He
founded it in 1989, he says, to build bridges and relationships
between different ethnic groups.
Now he is working with Englewood’s mayor to create a citizens’
council that will implement programs aimed at building cohesiveness
— and Shannon will use it as a case study for his dissertation.
“We may have something replicable,” he says. “My
dream is to have Englewood be a learning society where everyone
is a teacher and a learner.” With Ed.D. in hand, Shannon hopes
to add professional clout to his efforts.
Beveridge was motivated to get another degree by two factors:
his lifelong fascination with history and his fear that he would
fritter away time without another major challenge.
Founding partner of a Washington, D.C., firm, Beveridge &
Diamond, which specializes in environmental law, Beveridge has at
least another year of classes before he can focus on his dissertation.
He plans to look at the influence of business on public policy.
Businesses, he says, have changed their attitudes toward government.
“U.S. business decided it was smarter to cooperate rather
than fight Washington,” says Beveridge, who majored in modern
languages and literatures at Princeton. “When and how that
[shift] happened and whether the situation still prevails are the
questions I want to address.” Beveridge, who says he reads
two to four academic books per week, hopes to teach after earning
his degree, possibly as an adjunct professor.
Shannon and Beveridge can’t say if they’ll make it
to their 48th reunion this year — a lot depends on how much
homework they have.
By Maria LoBiondo
Maria LoBiondo is an occasional contributor to PAW.