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 SRU Institute for Learning in Retirement readies spring classes 




Feb. 2, 2009

Contact: K.E. Schwab  




SRU Institute for Learning in Retirement readies spring classes


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Nine years and literally thousand of participants later, Slippery Rock University's Institute for Learning in Retirement is flourishing, readying its spring course offerings and already has plans for 2010 on the drawing board.

            "We now average about 175 members each term, and we serve more than 200 participants with our programs, lectures, learning opportunities, day trips and travel programs" said Constance Smith, ILR registration coordinator.

            "We are still an all-volunteer organization," she said. Ruth Hoffman is the institute's executive director.

            The institute, which operates out of SRU's Center for Lifelong and Community Learning Building at 165 Elm St., is a non-profit, member-run organization dedicated to meeting the learning needs and interests of mature adults.

            Instructor's, many of them retired SRU faculty, volunteer their time and teaching talent. Anyone with a skill or particular subject knowledge is encouraged to propose a course by contacting the institute, Smith said.

            This year's 32-page course catalog is at the printers and will be ready for distribution in mid-February. 

            "We urge interested retirees and others to register early, since most classes have size limits and fill up quickly," Smith said. Those who join as members receive class discounts. Half year dues are $60. Non-members may elect to participate on a single-event basis. 

            "Because some classes are limited in size, many will be filled by late February," Smith said. "Those who have been with us for a while know they need to return their registration forms quickly in order to get into all the classes they want."

            A sneak preview of the catalog finds everything from book discussions and Civil War artillery to chair caning, composting, drawing, fly fishing, genealogy, guitar lessons, gardening, knitting, opera, photography, painting, piano (I, II and III), Russian, home safety, volcanoes in Alaska's Katmai National Park, winemaking and yoga as some of the sessions planned.

            A series of day trips to such locations as Stan Hywett Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio, the Aviation Museum, the Butler Heritage Center and Shaw House, the Erie Maritime Museum and Presque Isle, operas at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center, the Phipps Spring Flower Show, Pymatuning Lake and visits to see the art at Old Economy and the wildflowers at Jennings Environmental Center will also be offered.

            Among the courses drawing special interest is one that will explain how many farms operated well without the modern convenience of electricity, a course that concentrates on six distinctive feature films, another that examines Dante's "Devine Comedy," and one that examines the folkways of the Appalachians.

            "We offer a 'Hot Issues' discussion group and we explore Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as Japanese brush painting and knitting," Smith said.

            Not all classes are local. The ILR offers travel opportunities, including a scheduled September trip that will take participants on an eight-day visit to the Northern National Parks, including the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone National Park and Salt Lake City among other locations.

            The 2010 program plans already include trips to examine the Mayan culture and ruins in Honduras and Guatemala, a visit to the Italian lakes and Greek isles and a review of the hidden treasures of the Maritimes. 

            Some classes meet only once, other offer multiple sessions.

            Smith said those age 90 or older could participate in most programs for free.         

            A course catalog, registration and cost information for the various program are available by calling the ILR at 724.738.1604 or e-mailing 


 Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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