UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 5 |
May 5, 2005
87 Years Young
Religious Studies grad can’t wait to continue learning
By Brenda Austin
Clarice Rummel, 87, has a twinkle in her eye when she tells
you about her boyfriends at UBC. While living in residence
and taking her BA in religious studies she had three boyfriends
-- one in each of her first 3 years, in their late teens and
20s -- who watched out for her, took her out on Valentine’s
day and, as one put it, offered protection, “so long
as he was around.”
Rummel seems to have earned the affection of many students,
and likewise her instructors, with her open-mindedness, friendship
and unusual commitment as a full-time senior student, living
Her passion is ancient Indian Vedic philosophy, but she
has studied other religions over the course of her program,
as well as the usual diverse requirements for a BA. This included
a course in which she had the opportunity to bring history
to life for fellow students.
“I was in a huge first-year class of about 200,”
she said, “when the professor talked of World War II
and realised I had been a part of that. I had lots of exciting
and tragic stories, so I lectured for one class period about
my top secret work, intercepting the Germans’ coded
Fluent in German, Rummel was in the air force in Britain
at the time. Later, she got a scholarship for her war service
to study conducting and piano at the Royal Academy of Music
In 1953, she moved to Vancouver and studied nursing at Vancouver
General Hospital, but earned her living as a music teacher,
retiring at 72. She travelled in Europe and went to India
on her own when she was 81, staying for a while in an ashram.
“I always had a burning interest in religion and philosophy
and wished I had gone to university when I was younger,”
she said. Her daughter made enquiries and encouraged her to
enrol at UBC.
She’s enjoyed her time here and says she had very
good relationships with her professors. Now, she can’t
wait to continue her studies, reading widely and going deeper
into the meditative aspects of Indian philosophy.