For Alumna, No Age Limit on Education

October 27, 2011

Before enrolling in the DePaul College of Law, Agnes Prindiville (JD ’07) had been involved in higher learning all of her adult life. She taught at 10 different colleges for more than 30 years, earned two graduate degrees (M.S. in Mathematics from University of Illinois at Chicago and M.S. in Computing and Information Science from Roosevelt University), and completed the Basic Program at the University of Chicago. After graduating from DePaul at the age of 79, Prindiville can attest that it’s never too late to educate.

“Everything is interesting,” says Prindiville, “especially if you didn’t know it before.”

Born in Glen Ellyn, Ill., Prindiville earned her undergraduate degree, a B.A. in mathematics, from Dominican University (formerly Rosary College). She says she was always interested in law, but never felt it was a path she could follow.

“For a woman in my generation, nursing and teaching were the only careers available,” says Prindiville, who grew up in a family of teachers. “I’m from a generation who did what their parents told them to do.”

Prindiville went on to teach mathematics at various colleges, including Roosevelt University, where she received a grant to pursue an advanced degree in the new field of Computer Science. She would continue teaching mathematics as well as computer science, while still taking various graduate courses.

After retirement, Prindiville found herself with time to pursue an old dream. “I just really wanted to go to law school,” says Prindiville. “I felt very fortunate that I was accepted into DePaul. It has an energy here in the city that’s different from a lot of colleges.”

As the oldest student at the College of Law, Prindiville found many of the students to be the same age as her grandchildren, but having worked in an academic environment all her life, it didn’t make a difference to her. “I really didn’t find being old a problem,” says Prindiville. “The students here are very genuine and open.”

While most of her younger peers focused on law school and the bar exam, Prindiville took classes part-time while working at a death penalty clinic. She found herself fascinated with social policy in the law. “I took a number of classes that dealt with medicine and the law,” she Prindiville. “I have always been curious about how the law protects those with medical/mental problems.”

Today, having joined the ranks of DePaul College of Law alumni, Prindiville works as a pro bono lawyer with Prairie Legal Services in Waukegan, Ill.. There her focus is on family law, guardianship, and foreclosures, and she is currently working on a probate case in Cook County.

Looking back at her academic career, Prindiville feels she has taken advantage of an incredible gift.

“There are many things you can give your children,” says Prindiville. “But the one thing you can give that cannot be taken away from them is a great education.”

Guitarist known worldwide as one of the best of the best

October 13, 2011
Murial Anderson

Murial Anderson with harp guitar

Even as a kindergartener, Muriel Anderson (MUS ’82) knew that she wanted to connect with other people through the arts. She just didn’t know which one — that is, until she rescued an old guitar from a family friend’s trash and began plucking out melodies on it.

Today, Anderson is one of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists, having released more than 15 CDs in genres spanning folk, bluegrass, world, classical and jazz.  She recently has been recording and touring with the German duo Tierra Negra, leading proponents of Flamenco Nuevo, a rhythmic blend of folk, jazz, pop and traditional rumba-flamenco.

Her music is on the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and her “Heartstrings” CD accompanied astronaut Susan Helms on the space shuttle Discovery.

With a piano-teacher mother and a grandfather who played saxophone in John Philip Sousa’s band, the Downers Grove, Ill., native grew up thinking that being a musician was “about the coolest thing you could do.”

As a student at Downers Grove North High School, she led a bluegrass band and played in the school’s jazz band before coming to DePaul on a full scholarship to study under guitar professor Leon Borkowski.

“I will never forget my first class with him,” Anderson recalls. “He said my tone was terrible and that I should come back when it’s better.  I spent an entire week reshaping my fingernails and practicing a single note. He loved it. It was the best guitar lesson I have ever had.”

She also took a class with Herman Pedtke (MUS ’49, MM ’50), which explored the mathematical relationships between sounds, an interest that continues to influence her playing and composing.

After graduating in 1982 Anderson (who incidentally is now known for the quality of her tone) went on to study with guitar legend Chet Atkins and classical virtuoso Christopher Parkening. In 1989 she became the first woman to win the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship.

In addition to almost constant touring, Anderson is the driving force behind the annual Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night (ASGN).  The event brings together some of the finest guitar talent on the planet for an evening of music making in support of the Music for Life Alliance, a charity she founded that helps nonprofits bring instruments and music instruction to disadvantaged kids in their schools.

Anderson makes frequent stops in Chicago to visit family and to teach.  For more than 20 years she also has hosted an annual Thanksgiving concert at her high school alma mater. This year’s show is on Saturday, Nov. 26.

When she’s not on the road, Anderson resides in Nashville, where she practices a few of the nonmusical arts, including gardening, painting and cooking.  “A good recipe blends tastes and aromas just like music blends sounds,” she explains. “The arts inspire one another.”

To learn more about Anderson and hear her music, go to