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January 13, 2010     Sidney Herald
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January 13, 2010
 

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SIDNEY HERALD Seniors WEDNESDAY, JAN. 13, 2010 7A Ostrovsky saves the best for last DAVID REVERE MSU'S MOUNTAINS AND MINDS MAGAZINE Jack Ostrovsky couldn't help standing out in his fresh- man seminar class. "We were sitting in class, talking about World War 1I," he recalled. "The teacher asked, 'Who said, "We have nothing to fear but fear it- self?" One of the kids got up and said Winston Churchill. I said, 'No, not the way I re- member it. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.'" At 81 years of age, Ostro- vsky is not the oldest full- time student at Montana State University, although he is certainly one of them. But few people on campus, faculty and staff included, have packed more into their lives than Ostrovsky, which makes him admired by fellow stu- dents more than 60 years his junior. "You can't stop him," said Wade Montee, a freshman majoring in general studies. "He does anything he wants, and he enjoys every minute of it." Ostrovsky has been a sailor. an entrepreneur, a pilot, an adventurer, a philanthropist. And in December 2010. he will also be a college gradu- ate. His graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history will mark the fulfill: ment of a lifelong dream. Going to college was always a goal, Ostrovsky said, but life circumstances got in the way, The son of Russian im- migrants, he was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but was raised by his grandmother in Montreal. Canada. "I was working from the time I was 16.17 years old,'" he said. Ostrovsky joined the Navy post-World War II. com- pleting service when he was just 20 years old. He moved to Los Angeles, started a family and said he worked tirelessly to support them. "I was always proud of my three wonderful daughters, but I was also aware of how much I missed by not going to college at that stage in my life," Ostrovsky said. stead, Ostrovsky raised four children, built a highly successful national business in women's sports apparel, and flew his own private air- planes all over the world. He has trained with astronauts, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and explored the wreckage of the Titanic. % was always involved in things that occupied my mind," Ostrovsky said. He said while he still had a "burning desire" for educa- tion, "I just never had the time." Ostrovsky moved to Boze- man in 1993 and took an ac- tive interest in MSU. He be- came a financial supporter of the Museum of the Rockies, the MSU Symphony, Bobcat athletics and many other ar- eas O f the university and the Bozeman community. "When (Jack) cares about something, he throws his whole heart and soul into it," said Shelley McKamey, dean and director of the Museum of the Rockies. She said Os- trovsky was a generous and enthusiastic member of the museum's Board of Trustees for six years. One of his most legacies was the establish- ment of the museum's annu- al Dinosaur Egg Hunt, now a Bozeman tradition. Despite his involvement with the university, Ostro- vsky said he still didn't think earning a degree would be practical. "I thought it was unrealis- tic for me to even think that anymore," Ostrovsky said. "I was long past the age of a col- lege student." Ostrovsky credited Peter Fields, MSU's athletic direc- tor, with helping him to think seriously about college again. The two became friends not long after Fields came to MSU in 2002. "I told him that going to school was always my unful- filled dream." Ostrovsky said. "I remember Peter asked me, 'Why don't you? What's keeping you?' I looked at him and thought, 'Some- body's actually asking me what's keeping me?'" "He didn't say much right then." Fields remembered. "Then one day we were hav- ing lunch at Starky's Deli. He said 'Peter, I want to go back to school.'" From a North Dakota Farm to DSU to Australia SHE IS 6O and on her way to Europe this summer. 2-4#.m. 1555 S. Central Sidney 433-3025 Across from McDonaMs ' Ostrovsky enrolled as a freshman at MSU in 2003. "I woke up one morning and I was a college student," he recalled. "I can't tell you what that felt like. It was like the biggest dream of my life came true." Beyond the education it- self, he said the experience of university life is something everyone should have. "The camaraderie, the mixing with the contemporaries and sharing ideas - it's so impor- tant. You miss it in later life." He credits his wife, Donna, for supporting him in his ef- forts to graduate. Greg Young, MSU's vice provost for undergraduate education, met Ostrovsky during an MSU Honors Pro- gram travel course in Eu- rope. "His intellectual curiosity was infectious," Young said. "Given his amazing experi- ences all over the world and the stories he could share with students, I highly val- ued his interactions with stu- dents and faculty." He's now in his senior year. ' senior senior," he joked, and the difference in years hasn't held him back from making relationships with students six decades younger. "I've made wonderful friendships with kids," he said. "They've got the occa- sional earring and things coming out of their tummies, but I've learned to look be- yond that. I've heard the questions they ask and how they get involved in conver- sation. It's taught me to be more respectful of the young generation." The respect is mutual, ac- cording to Montee, Ostro- vsky's schoolmate since Jan- uary of 2008. "He makes me feel like the sky's the limit," Montee said. "I feel like I can do everything I want to do be- cause Jack's done everything he wants to do. If I live up to LESLIE MCDANIEL I MSU'S MOUNTAINS AND MINDS MAGAZINE Jack Ostrovsky has been a sailor, an entrepreneur, a pilot, an ad- venturer, a philanthropist and a community booster. Soon the 81- year-old Bozeman man will add college graduate to his list of ac- complishments. son, Zach. The freshman in General Studies and aspiring filmmaker said he's proud to have his dad's legacy to in- spire him. "How many peo- ple say 'I want to go to col- lege' athis age. and then just do it? I'm so happy and proud of him." half of what Jack has done, I'll turn out better than okay." One student, in particular, holds a special appreciation for Ostrovsky's presence on campus. "I have the deepest respect for him." said his 18-year-old County-wide Conference Thursday, Jan. 21, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. St. Matthew's Parish Center 11:30 a.m. - 12-1:30 p.m. 1:30-1:45 1:45-3:15 p.m. Session 1: Session 2: 3:15-3:30 p.m. 3:30-5 p.m. Session 3: Session 4: 12 p.m. 8:30-8:45 a.m. 8:45-10:15 a.m. Session 5: Session 6: 10:15-10:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Session 7: Thursday, Jan. 21 Registration and Lunch Welcome: Richland County Commissioner City of Sidney ':::;:: i Town of Fairview Session 8: ;::;::" Conference Goals: Special Speaker: Dan Clark Break Concurrent Sessions #1 & 2 Youth Opportunities & Development - Room 1 Transportation and Public Facilities - Room 2 Break Concurrent Sessions #3 & 4 Educational & Cultural Development - Room 1 Natural Resources Room 2 Friday, January 22 Morning Refreshments (Coffee, Juice, rolls/muffins) Concurrent Session # 5 & 6 Housing Opportunities & Development- Room 1 Physical Health Resources- Room 2 Break Concurrent Sessions # 7 & 8 Public Safety Opportunities - Room 1 Economy & Agricultural Resources Room 2