After serving as a popular superintendent of Baltimore County public schools for 16 years, Robert Y. Dubel retired in 1992.
"I didn't stay retired for too long," he said in an interview. "I took a part-time job right away at College Park in the College of Education teaching in the master's and doctoral programs, and when it started moving toward a full-time position, I quit in 1997."
He still does a little educational consulting and returns to the University of Maryland occasionally to lecture delegations from China about elementary and secondary education.
"It's really fantastic. The Chinese are very centralized and we're decentralized, so we have a pretty good clash of ideas on how to run a country," he said, with a laugh.
Dubel first visited China shortly after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He returned again in 1996, and most recently visited this spring.
Dubel and his wife of 59 years, Helen, collect and display flags from countries they have visited in their Glen Meadows retirement community home.
"We have 66," he said.
At the end of this month, he and his wife will add another flag to their collection after they travel to Athens, Greece, to visit an exchange student they first met in 1947 when both were undergraduates at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College).
"I first met Helen in a biology class when we were assigned the same fetal pig to dissect," Dubel said. "I did the cutting, and Helen took care of the brain. One day, I suggested we wash our hands after class and go for a walk. We got married in 1948, and we've been walking all over the world ever since.
"I'm 82 and play golf in a senior league. My big aim is to shoot my age, and that gets easier with each passing year," he said with a laugh.