About Walter Roman ’24

Imagine being a college freshman at age 55.

Okay, that’s difficult.

Imagine having a successful 30-year career as a hair colorist and stylist, overseeing teams of people, getting to mix with New York City’s artsy crowd, and giving it up to start a new life in upstate New York.

Admittedly, it’s not easy contemplating being Walter Roman of Hudson, New York. But he’s not a fictional character. He’s a student in Sage’s Interior + Spatial Design program. He happily commutes the hour and fifteen minutes each way to Sage, as often as he can, because he’s thrilled to be in school.

Studying to become an interior designer is something that’s been on Walter’s mind for years, but there was that day last year when he couldn’t ignore the calling any longer.

He was walking around a friend’s new home and marveling at how beautifully it had been decorated. “I was thinking to myself, this is definitely what I want to do,” Walter remembers. “I guess I said something out loud and my friend said to me: You’ve been talking about this for five years. Why don’t you just do it.”

Understandably, Walter felt intimidated. He hadn’t been in a classroom since the 1970s.

But he was also being moved by some deep emotions that were causing him to reconsider everything in his life.

“In a two-year period I’d lost two friends,” he says. “I had a cancer scare of my own. So I was thinking, I don’t want to live my life with regret. I knew this was something that I really wanted to do.”

He has no regrets now.  

“The adjustment has been difficult and challenging,” Walter says. “At the same time it’s really been wonderful. My professors have been amazing, and so have my fellow students. Really, every one of my professors has just been amazing to me. Everybody at the school has been a tremendous help.”

And Walter admits he’s needed extra help. He’s never been a computer guy. The online emphasis that’s been imposed by COVID-19 has made this even more of a challenge. 

He remembers at one point his 13-year-old nephew saying: “Don’t worry Uncle Roman, I can help you.”

It’s been that kind of special journey.


“My professors have been amazing, and so have my fellow students.”

Walter Roman ’24