The Ulyssean Society was formed by a group of enthusiastic life long learners in 1977. From that day to the current year, the Society has functioned with membership at and attendance at our events with over 100 participants a year comprised of women and men in the 55-90 age bracket. To date, more than 450 lectureshave been held, at a number of locations in Toronto. Presentations by distinguished guest speakers are followed by a discussion and question session.
Dr. John A. B. McLeish was a graduate of McGill (BA, MA) and Cornell (PhD) universities and on graduation from Cornell was elected to the graduate honour society, Phi Kappa Phi. His 30-year academic career included professorships and administrative posts at the University of British Columbia; Carlton University, Ottawa, and Brandon University, Manitoba (where he was for several years Dean of the Faculty of Education and Deputy to the President.)
His seminars and workshops on the modern adult and the creative process were given at the University of Ottawa; Concordia University, Montreal, and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.
John McLeish found that the mature students he worked with in university extension classes and other settings year after year were far from being “over the hill.” Indeed, contrary to the traditional view of the time, they showed a great deal of creative learning ability.
John realized that if he was to gain acceptance of the concept in academic circles, anecdotal evidence was insufficient. So he turned to the research on adult education. After poring over more than 300 studies he published his findings in The Ulyssean Adult (1976) and later in The Challenge of Aging (1983, reprinted in 1997).
In The Challenge of Aging John developed the following five elements as the essential areas of study for those who would like to lead the “Ulyssean” life: He summed it up this way:
1. Learning, insight and creativity
2. Exploration of the self
3. Growth and development in the later years
4. Meeting change pro-actively
5. A zest for living
Not a bad formula at any age.