Patterson's Pub

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2019-2020 Graham studying up for his next chapter

Mendocino Beacon — 01/30/2020
COAST PEOPLE
Staff Report

Why would the 73-year-old retired lawyer and proprietor of Patterson’s Pub in Mendocino go back to college?

Graham says he was inspired by Rodney Danger-field in the ’80s movie “Back to School.”

“Besides, at my age, I need to build my resume for my next life,” Graham says.

Fifty years after graduating from the University of San Francisco, he was accepted to and has attended the first session of a three-year master’s degree program in practical ethics at Oxford University. He will visit the Oxford campus twice a year for a month and then work from the internet from home.

As expected, he is the “oldest guy” in the class. His fellow students come from all walks of life and all over the world.

Why practical ethics?

“Our planet is being transformed, creating ever more powerful technology with unprecedented potential for great immediate benefit but also for great harm,” Graham says. “Traditional institutions and norms have not yet been developed to ethically balance these benefits against the harms. Our 21st Century 'Technological Revolution" completely overshadows the 19th Century ‘Industrial Revolution.’

“The fate of humanity in this 21st Century and future centuries will, to a greater extent than ever before, be determined by the choices made by human beings, the leaders and citizens of nations, and us folks right here in Mendocino.

“This program will address ethical choices we make involving such diverse challenges as climate change, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, global inequality, poverty, migration, infectious disease, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and the list goes on and on.

“It is the ethical critical thinking, values and principles that I hopefully will learn, that I can then use to more effectively guide the human choices that we all make.”