Seniors Invited Back to School

by Christine A. Holliday Fall marks a return to classrooms for students everywhere, and the books and field trips are calling adults as well. Two local institutions of higher education offer classes, lectures, and tours for adults at little or no tuition cost. Seniors with intellectual curiosity and a bit of free time are invited to take advantage of these opportunities for personal enrichment and academic or social fellowship. Lourdes University in Sylvania offers classes, day trips, and monthly lectures for all men and women interested in ongoing learning. These learning experiences do not require a huge time commitment or any prerequisite knowledge. Instead, they offer a student’s dream school experience: no tests, exams, or grades. Laura Megeath, Coordinator of the Lifelong Learning program at Lourdes, explains that would-be students can become members of the learning community for $35 a year and take available classes at reduced prices. The classes are taught by Lourdes faculty or Lifelong Learning members with particular areas of expertise. Becoming a student again The topics of the classes for Fall 2014 vary from History (World War II: The Asian Theater) to Technology (iPad Overview or Social Media) to Art (Lessons from Picasso or Painting and Drawing Water and Sky, among others). There are classes related to music, dream analysis, even a class on learning to play bridge. After 43 years of working and now retired, Marci Helmer thinks it’s fun to be a student again. She has taken four War classes offered by Dr. Dwayne Beggs, as well as classes about The Underground Railroad and Millie Benson, the late Toledo Blade reporter who penned several Nancy Drew books. “Each class has something special to offer,” she said. “I continue to ‘learn’ by attending classes such as those offered through Lifelong Learning. I am thankful for the instructors who bring both knowledge and humor into the classroom.” Susan Shelangoskie, PhD, a faculty member in the English Department at Lourdes, teaches classes in the Lifelong Learning program. She finds it rewarding to help students broaden their knowledge base, noting that the students are there for the joy of learning. “I inevitably find that I learn a great deal from the unique life experiences that these learners bring to the class, she said. More information is available by contacting Ms. Megeath at, or 419 824-3707. The website include a campus map, and a registration form, as well as videos of past lectures on WGTE’s Knowledge Stream. Program 60 is the University of Toledo’s program for adult students looking for personal interest or enrichment classes. Almost any class on the UT undergraduate class schedule, whether online or on campus, is open to participants who meet the entrance criteria: They’ve applied for admission to the University, passed their 60th birthday, and lived in Ohio for the last 12 consecutive months. Students may need instructor permission to waive prerequisites, but once they find a class that they like, they can register, buy the textbooks, and pay any course fees, which average about $225 for a three-hour class. Students in the classes receive no academic credit and are not required to take tests or quizzes, write papers, or do projects, but many do the work, anyway. Beth Gerasimiak, Senior Director, College Administration of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning (CALL), notes that many students look forward to the challenges of class assignments. “Many of them love the idea of being in school, and they really want to do the work the other students are doing. They like interacting with the younger students on projects, and the idea of doing reading and writing is why they take the classes.” Susan Ford, with a background in journalism and business, has has taken 34 classes in the four years since she has been eligible and says she thrives on the “whole academic experience.” She acknowledges that she wants the rigors of an academic class, even though she doesn’t receive academic credit. “I have always loved to study,” she said. “I read the assignments and do the papers and I look forward to feedback from the instructors…. I am in the library seven days a week and I love it!” Eighty-one-year-old Robert Tschirret took classes in the program after his retirement from the railroad. He concentrated on history, and found that his life experience made the classes even more interesting. “I lived during World War II, so I could offer insights to the students who were much younger than I. I loved writing the papers and doing the projects; it was a great way to spend time. After a while, I started taking other classes, like speech and economics, and found those just as much fun.” Registration for Program 60 students is held the Friday before the start of each term (Fall term runs late August to late December, spring term runs mid-January to mid-May, and three summer terms run for different lengths between mid-May and early August.) The Program 60 website  has all the information a future student might need. Specific concerns can be addressed to or by calling 419 530-3142.


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