Professor Emeritus Takes To The Skies For 80th Birthday


A former chair of the Department of Psychology and expert in gerontology took to the skies Wednesday to prove his point that age is just a number.

Dick Tucker, Ph.D, celebrated his 70th birthday by tandem skydiving. For his 80th birthday this week, he chose hang gliding.

For about 15 minutes, Tucker circled peacefully above rural Polk County, soaking in the sights and reflecting on a full life. Tucker started in the Department of Psychology at then-Florida Technological University in 1972. Toward the end of his career, he specialized in teaching and researching the effects of aging and related diseases.

A firm belief in the importance of lifelong learning led him to found the Learning Institute For Elders at UCF, or LIFE. The organization taps into the wealth of faculty expertise at UCF for weekly classes.

“I count LIFE as one of my greatest achievements,” Tucker said. “I really want seniors to enjoy life for as long as they can and retain that sense of wonder.”

Tucker has also assisted in the development of Legacy Pointe, an active adult community under construction just outside the main campus. The facility provides seniors the ability to gradually choose the level of care they need, from independent living to skilled nursing, while enjoying the benefits of living on the perimeter of a major university.

“There are a lot of stereotypes linked with aging, but there’s so much more to retirement than a rocking chair,” Tucker said.


Watch Dr. Tucker here:

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