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Lifetime learner Rubin, 95, proves higher education is ageless

December 2011

David Rubin will celebrate his 95th birthday at home in Hampstead January 17, joined by 18 members of his family.

It won’t be the first celebration this season. In late November, Rubin was fêted at the annual gala of the Montreal branch of ORT, where he received a plaque from the organization dedicated to education and technological training around the word.

The lifetime learning award was not for his success as a manufacturer of buttons and belts during the years when Montreal had a thriving apparel industry. ORT honoured Rubin for his advanced studies and research into the Minoan Civilization, which prospered on the Greek island of Crete from 2600 to 1100 BCE.

Longtime learner David Rubin with his wife, Frances, at ORT gala. Photo courtesy of ORT

After getting his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Concordia University in 1986, at age 60, he completed a master’s in 1993 with two papers, one of which focused on the frescoes at the Palace of Knossos, the ancient Minoan capital.

The latest development in the Rubin saga is that the 60,000-word PhD-style thesis he wrote on The Genesis and Demise of the Minoan Empire. It will be published as a book by XLibris of Bloomingdale, Indiana.

How did Rubin feel as he sat in a loge at Place des Arts to accept the award?

“It was a big honour. I did it (researching and writing the thesis) without going to school. I did it on my own,” he said.

Rubin, who grew up in a cold-water flat, remembers starting work at age 11, delivering meat at night to earn 25 cents a shift so he could pay fees at Baron Byng High School.

College was out of the question, but he never lost the eagerness to study.

Unable to register as a formal PhD student, Rubin is proud that Philip Betancourt, a noted archeology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, read the manuscript and after some editing suggestions, wrote:

“On the whole it is a fine paper and I hope you will continue work on the details.”

The book should be available in major bookstores around the world in the new year, Rubin said.



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