This week, tiny Messiah College in central Pennsylvania honored one of their own, Dr. Ray Crist. What is perhaps most interesting about Dr. Crist's situation is that he is 104 years old, and was graduated from Messiah College in 1916, and began his teaching career at Messiah 34 years ago at the age of 70. Crist came to teach at Messiah after a long career in science including stints at both the Manhattan Project and for Union Carbide. Crist's research has included work on the effects of automobile exhaust on deer and of toxic metals on trout, and even in his retirement, he has said he does not plan to stop his research. Two years ago, Crist received the accolade of America's Oldest Worker from Experience Works, which is a nonprofit training and employment service. Of course, Crist is part of a broader trend within the United States over the past few decades that has seen older Americans maintain high levels of intellectual productivity (particularly with increased longevity nationwide), a fact that is often overlooked by more banal representations of older persons on various media programs and a general adoration of youth culture.
The first link (anonymous registration required) will take visitors to a recent news article about a celebration held for Dr. Crist at Messiah College. The second link will lead visitors to a news release issued by the Experience Works group from 2002 that talks about Dr. Crist's achievements. The third link leads to the Living Century video clip page (developed in conjunction with the popular PBS series) where visitors can watch and listen to a clip of Dr. Crist. The fourth link will take visitors to the homepage of the well-known Okinawa Centenarian Study, which involves research on the residents of Okinawa, who collectively have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. The fifth page leads to an important document on key indicators of well-being for older persons developed by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics. The final link leads to the homepage of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, one of Wisconsin's most celebrated daughters, and a woman who kept on creating visually stimulating art that is recognized around the world, and did so well into her 90s.
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