LIR scores New York Times attention

UW-Green Bay’s huge and hugely popular Learning in Retirement program earned lengthy mention in a March 7 New York Times story. Headlined “Exercising an Aging Brain,” the headline addresses the notion that seniors who return to school experience health benefits and stay mentally sharp. An excerpt:

One of the largest programs for retirees is at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay… Called Learning in Retirement, it is sponsored by the university, with more than 1,000 members and more than 240courses a year. Classes — mostly short, a few two-hour sessions — include painting, jazz, travel, eBay, osteoarthritis, Zumba, the periodic table, the history of the earth, building with straw bales and “motorcycling and aging awareness.” Most require no outside reading, homework or exams. Some are taught by college faculty, some by members of the group or others in the community.

The story goes on to quote Prof. Emeritus Michael Murphy, Humanistic Studies, who among other things, mentions. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching, and the idea of teaching without having to read papers, correct tests and worst of all, give out grades, was really appealing.” One of his courses filled a hall with seats for 120 and had 130 more people on the waiting list. The students include doctors, lawyers, professors and high-school dropouts, who have all been around the block a few times, and every so often someone challenges him — a kind of mental jousting he enjoys. To see more, scroll down near the end of the story.

NBC Nightly News also inquires

Mona Christensen of the Division of Outreach and Adult Access, who is among those serving as an institutional liaison to Learning in Retirement, shares word that the Times publicity could yield follow-up attention. Phillip Andreas, an LIR member who volunteers as chair of the group’s communication committee, has received a call from the NBC Nightly News about a possible story. Only UW-Green Bay and Columbia University were mentioned in the newspaper’s report.

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