University for Seniors at UMD is a member-based organization of persons age 50 and older. Its stated mission is “to provide intellectual and cultural stimulation and growth, thus enhancing life experience for its members. Those who live life best find new roles, make new friends, and discover new ideas”. Seniors are welcomed into the program whether their formal education ended early in life or if participants have advanced degrees.
Phil Nast is a very active member in the University for Seniors (US) program. When he decided to retire, he and his wife, Hilja, moved from their 20 acre home in upstate New York to Duluth and US was a big part of that decision. Other communities have many of the amenities that Duluth has to offer retirees, such as theater, music, healthcare, and convenient transportation, but at UMD, he found that joining US afforded him great comradery and opportunities to discuss controversial issues in an intelligent way.
Three eight-week terms are offered during the year, with choices from over 40 study groups each term for a flat fee. Participants can join humanities-centered study groups including current events, history, philosophy, science, art, poetry, literature, exercise, and other topics that are relevant to daily living for adults in pre-retirement and post-retirement years. Special events and social activities featuring local tours, museum visits, luncheons, dinners, theatrical events, and chartered bus trips are regularly offered. Members can attend weekly lectures on timely topics with University of Minnesota professors and community experts.
“Where else can you get 96-years worth of education in eight weeks?” said Mary Evans, President of US.
Sharing Across Generations (SAGE) provides inter-generational challenges and volunteer options for University for Seniors members with UMD students and the Duluth community. The program offers opportunities for learning about things you’ve wanted to know but never had the time to pursue, and to enjoy the experiences with friends in pursuit of common interests.
Nearly 65% of US study groups are led by members; the remaining 35% are offered by current and retired campus professors and community leaders. The teachers are not paid, but appreciate the benefit of sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge for their chosen topics with their peers.
“UMD is not only for undergrads or graduate students. It’s for life-learners,” said Mary Evans.
An informational luncheon and kick-off to the winter session takes place this Wednesday, November 28 at 11:30 a.m. in the UMD Kirby Ballroom. In addition to thanking all those who made fall term a success, attendees will have an opportunity to visit with winter study group leaders while enjoying lunch and a program. The cost is $12.00 per person. Call 218/726-7637 or 218/726-7515 to make your reservations. The deadline to sign up for the luncheon is Wednesday, November 21.
Check out what topics the study groups are covering and the events calendar for happenings taking place with the University for Seniors.