University of the Fraser Valley

Meet Gerry Eggert: an 82-year-old undergraduate pursuing his dream

Meet Gerry Eggert: an 82-year-old undergraduate pursuing his dream


Gerry Eggert is defying age stereotypes and inspiring students of all generations with his persistent pursuit of education at the age of 82. With five or six semesters left before he earns his degree, Gerry is proving that it is never too late to chase your dreams and inspire others along the way.

While his peers may be significantly younger, Gerry embraces the challenges with enthusiasm, often arriving first in class and being mistaken for the professor at the beginning of a course. Gerry’s experiences as a student at UFV have been markedly different from his prior experience in university during the 1960s.

“The teachers are more approachable. You can talk to them, they’re open, and they’ll help you,” he says.

This has encouraged Gerald’s passion to learn and contribute, sharing his wealth of wisdom and life experience, which is often met with curiosity and respect from his classmates.

“I feel flattered because they include me,” he explains. “In discussions they’re not afraid to ask ‘Gerry what do you think? How did that work?’ I was worried about that and didn’t think anybody cared, but they liked to hear that, so I’ve come to really enjoy the classroom.”

Born in 1941 in Pembroke, Ontario, Gerry’s life has been filled with adventure. Following high school, he joined the Navy and relocated to British Columbia. After two years of naval officer training along with studies at the University of British Columbia, Gerry was stationed in Cuba. He left his military career to become a private investigator at Pinkerton’s, eventually opening and managing their Calgary and Edmonton operations. Gerry left there to work in his mother’s family business in Ontario before he and his wife moved to BC, where Gerry found a job working for the provincial government, setting up workshops as part of an employment program dedicated to people with mental difficulties. His talents caught the attention of lumber companies, leading him to play a pivotal role in establishing the first manufacturing facilities for Ikea in North America. He remained in the lumber industry for four decades before becoming an independent management consultant and even running an H&R Block franchise.

While he is retired, Gerry likes to remain busy.

“I can’t lay around; my wife throws me out of the house to go do something!”

This has led Gerry to volunteer his time and even pursue creative avenues outside of his coursework. Adding to his list of accomplishments, he recently had a poem, titled The Farm Wife, published in The Zine, the student-run university literary magazine. This recognition has further ignited his passion for creative expression and affirmed his decision to continue his educational journey at UFV.

From his positive class experiences to his extra-curricular activities, Gerry’s university life has been unique and one which he is thankful for. He is especially grateful to his academic advisor, Kathryn Garcia, for helping him get back into university courses to further pursue his own goals.

For Gerry, it goes back to an old dream of his, to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. With five or six semesters left before graduating with his Bachelor of Integrated Studies, Gerry now has two more reasons he wants to pursue his degree: first, to keep his mind active and second, to graduate with his youngest granddaughter, who starts her own university journey this fall.



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