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Alumni Profiles

Gary Morewood

Gary Morewood

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 2011
Program: Social Service Worker

It’s Never Too Late to Learn

“So I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. You just have to be more patient, and the dog has to be willing.” That’s how 66-year-old Gary Morewood sums up his educational journey.

At age 63, Gary began the Social Service Worker program at Sheridan, graduating two years later with a 4.0 GPA in 2011. Not only is his story inspiring because of its circumstances, it’s also a major personal achievement for him, in more ways than one. Throughout his entire life, Gary was told he would not amount to much, if anything at all.

He recalls the feedback he received on his high school report cards. “Most of the remarks were not of the encouraging kind. I was not urged to pursue any higher education” says Gary, who grew up in Scarborough and now lives in Burlington.

Decades later (46 years, to be exact), Gary would finally get the support he needed to continue his studies, thanks to the encouragement of his wife, the March of Dimes and a lot of prayer, He is now working for the Salvation Army Lighthouse Shelter in Oakville.

“My brain had to be kick-started,” recalls Gary, who had to learn how to use a computer, for the first time. He has much praise for the encouragement he received from the faculty and students at Sheridan, particularly professor, Nicole Johnson.

“She always had a smile and genuinely cared about us. But most importantly for me, she always had a word of encouragement,” says Gary, who was recovering from a knee replacement during his studies.

Nicole remembers Gary well too. “It was a privilege to teach Gary and witness his professional growth,” she says. “He enriched the classroom learning environment with his real world experiences and passion.”

After high school, Gary served for eight years in the Royal Canadian Navy and then moved on to the First Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment for three years. During his service he received numerous citations before retiring from the military. He then worked in men’s retail many years until his old leg injury flared up and he needed to find another line of work.

“I feel that with my life experience and now with my education, I can be an asset to those in need,” Gary says.

He is indeed making a difference to those less fortunate, says Carol Willems, Director of the Salvation Army Lighthouse Shelter.

“Gary is an absolute joy to work with. You don’t get many older people wanting to work in this tough environment. He has a great rapport with our senior community and youth, alike.” 

For Gary’s part, he is grateful for the chance to contribute. “Every time I see a smile or get a firm handshake from a client, I know I have helped them on their journey to a better life.”