Senior University

Organization promotes life-long learning philosophy

For more than 16 years Senior University has been providing educational experiences for Georgetowns age 50 and older population.

The organization offers two six-week terms with 30 classes in a variety of subjects, including courses on books, travel, music, psychology and history as well as a summer lecture series with 10 lectures and educational travel opportunities.

The mission [of Senior University] is to bring lifelong learning to citizens over 50 years of age in the Georgetown community, Senior University board President Jerry Hobbs said.

Hobbs has served on the organizations board for four years and is in his second year as president. He has been a member of the university for seven years and said he plans to continue his membership after he finishes his term on the board.

I'll be a member as long as I'm on the face of the earth, I hope, Hobbs said.

Hobbs said the organization helps individuals interested in lifelong learning to expand their horizons and learn new concepts.

[Members are] people who really enjoy learning and learning more about everything involved with higher-education topics, he said.

Founded in 1997 by 35 residents, many of whom are still involved today, the nonprofit began its first session Feb. 16, 1998, Senior University Administrator Kendra Hicks said.

Today the university has more than 600 members400 of whom register for courses each term and 200 participating in the summer lectures, Hicks said.

[Senior University has] grown to more than 600 members, Hobbs said. That says a lot about our community that we have that many people that are interested in furthering their educational horizons.

Beyond educational opportunities, Hicks said the university offers its members a way to gather and socialize with others interested in similar topics. The university has also been a draw for people considering moving to the area, she said.

There are people who move to Sun City because of Senior University, Hicks said.

Retired professionals and professors as well as some Southwestern University professors volunteer to teach the courses, which are selected by a curriculum committee for each term. Classes offered vary from term to term, and the classes, which are offered in Sun City or at the First Baptist Church, Southwestern and the Georgetown Public Library, can range in size from 20 students to more than 200, Hicks said.

There are no exams and typically no homeworkalthough there may be reading assignments, she said.

Membership costs $50 a year. Students also pay a once-a-semester $60 registration fee and can take up to eight classes a term.

The university also offers educational trips to locations throughout the nation, and organizers are planning a trip to Paris and Normandy in France, Hicks said.

Each trip includes about 20 to 30 travelers, she said, adding that about 20 percent of the universitys membership take part only in the travel opportunities and do not attend classes.

For those who may not qualify for membership, Senior University offers lectures that are free and open to the public of any age. More information can be found on the nonprofits website.

The fall schedule of classes is expected to be posted Aug. 15, and the first day of class will be Sept. 29.

Senior University

Southwestern University Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning, 1001 E. University Ave., Room 164