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Never too late to learn: 65-year-old is St. John’s freshman

The Capital Gazette

August 22, 2018


When Sheba Delaney arrived at St. John’s College for freshman registration on Wednesday, school representatives at each table greeted her and then glanced around.

“They would look past me to see where my kid was,” she said.

The 65-year-old had to explain: No, I’m the student.

Delaney, an artist, editorial illustrator and mother of two, said she enrolled in the Annapolis college to fulfill a lifelong dream. The Texas native lived in New York City most of her life and enjoyed success publishing illustrations in national magazines and newspapers and creating oil paintings inspired by the “utopian” advertising of the 1950s.

More recently, she started writing about religion but realized she lacked an academic foundation. She thought St. John’s could quench her desire for knowledge about philosophy, literature, theology and more.

“So I took my courage in my hands and applied,” she said. “The program at St. Johns is a mix of everything Western culture has been up to over the last 3,000 years. There’s nothing like it in the world.”

Unlike college students who choose schools and majors in hopes of becoming the ideal job candidate, Delaney’s goal is to improve her knowledge and sharpen her skills. She said she might pursue a master’s degree after, maybe even a doctorate.

“I want to be able to write better, stronger, more logically and be able to analyze and defend,” she said. “An education is something you’re ideally going to use to make you better at something you’d like to do. I really feel like I’m there for the same reason an 18-year-old is there.”