Persistence often pays off. This is particularly true as Marshall University's Lifelong Learning Program (LLP) which recently celebrates its first anniversary at the Marshall Memorial Student Center. The community celebrated this milestone of Marshall University joining more than 120 other universities around the nation to offer non-credit classes and programs geared to people age 50 and over.
After years of trying to establish a Lifelong Learning Program at Marshall University, it finally came to fruition last spring. With Marshall's President Jerry Gilbert's support and approval, the appointment of Dr. Beth Wolfe, as LLP program director, Dr. Joe Touma's enthusiasm and a committee of interested community members, Marshall's LLP was established in the fall of 2017. It offered its initial program, a behind the scenes look of Marshall Theater's production of "As You Like It," in April 2018.
For the past year, Marshall faculty members and community residents with special skills have generously donated their time and expertise by presenting exciting programs, either through the monthly "Tuesday Talks" from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the second Tuesday of each month or in "short courses" that run for three to six sessions.
Many thanks to this year's presenters and their programs: Dr. Dan Holbrook on "Conspiracy Theory," John Sammons on "Digital Security," Cheryl Tanner on "Pollinators in Peril," Dr. Jeffrey Ruff on "Mindfulness," Betsy Dulin, J.D, P.E. on "Engineering Design and Ethics from the WTC," Dr. David Trowbridge on "Preserving History with the Clio App," Dr. Wendell Dobbs on "Music of the John Marshall Era," Shintaro Takase on "Japanese Culture," Dr. Montserrat Miller on "Increasing Civility and Civic Engagement," Dr. Kelli Johnson on "African Americans in West Virginia-The Fairfield Oral History Project," Dr. Joe Wyatt on "Forensic Psychology," the Rev. Dr. Wilson on "Monastic Spirituality," and Dr. Kevin Law on "Monster Storms." There's clearly something for everyone.
Short courses last fall included "World War I," with Dr. David Woodward; "Major World Religions," with Rev. Jacque Compton, Rabbi Jean Eglinton and Dr. Majed Khader; and "Politics and Government," with Drs. Jamie Warner and George Davis. This spring, short courses include "Appreciating Duke Ellington," with Jeff Wolfe; "Mindfulness and Meditation," with Christine Anderson; and "Writing personal/family history," with Susan Will. The LLP has made day trips to Berea College and Cincinnati Art Museum, and a visit to the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is planned shortly.
Because this is a self-sustaining program, membership fees are necessary but kept as low as possible. Participants can select programs on an individual basis and pay only for programs they attend. Programs have been held at public libraries, Heritage Station, Marshall's campus, churches and the Woodlands.
Until 2017, an LLP at Marshall wasn't likely. But with hard work and a first-year membership of more than 80, its future looks bright. Freddie Tanner, an enthusiastic initial LLP member, explains the importance of this program for many older and retired residents. "I've always been a lifelong learner, but didn't want to deal with writing papers, tuition, expensive textbooks, campus parking, etc. The LLP has revitalized me and my husband. Interaction with people from all walks of life expands your horizons."
For people who are not working or have flexible schedules, Marshall's Lifelong Learning Program offers college level information the way we wished it was when we were undergraduates. For more information, check out www.marshall.edu/llp/ or email@example.com or call 304-696-6007.
Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.