September 13, 2010

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The Bucknell Institute for Lifelong Learning will continue in September with 16 courses for mature learners in the Central Susquehanna Valley.

Participants may enroll in courses exploring subjects from American foreign policy to
"Baseball Analysis for the 2000s." Most classes meet for 90 minutes once a week for six weeks at four locations in Lewisburg.

The fall term will run from the week of Sept. 27 to the week of Nov. 5. Six-week courses cost $35 each; three-week courses are $20 each.

This year the Institute will offer two free "Lunch & Learn" brown-bag presentations. Associate Professor of Art Roger Rothman will discuss "Picasso and His Legacy: From Cubism to Abstraction and Beyond," on Tuesday (Sept. 14). Professor Emeritus of Russian and Linguistics Robert Beard will discuss "The Funniest Words in the English Language and Why They are Funny" on Nov. 9. Both talks start at noon at The Village Common of the Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Beverages and a light dessert will be served.

Second year
The institute began last year as a pilot program with seven courses, offering "a broad range of creative, educational and intellectual opportunities in a stimulating, cooperative and supportive environment," noted Bucknell Provost Mick Smyer. The courses are taught by retired Bucknell faculty and members of the community. Offerings have expanded each semester, with more than 210 participants in 14 courses in the spring term. Many participants signed up for more than one class.

As the institute grows, it will develop a greater diversity of offerings and activities, with area residents taking the lead on organizing and leading many of them, Smyer said.

"As a psychologist who has worked extensively on issues of aging, I know the importance of mental activity to long-term well-being," Smyer said. He encourages individuals to consider becoming members of the institute, to take courses and maybe "become more actively involved by offering to lead a course, make a presentation, organize a study group, help with program administration or other volunteer roles."

This term, courses will include "Four Intriguing 20th Century Novels," "New Approaches to Body and Brain Health" and "The Arts of Imperial Rome and Earlier Christianity."

Program participant Margaret Greaves of Lewisburg said the institute was a great opportunity for intellectual discussion.

"There is a great thirst among seniors to explore and discuss ideas," Greaves said. "The diversity of courses is so great and the instructors so talented that everyone should find new and delightful avenues of thought."

Alice Totten, a member of Bucknell's Class of '52 who lives in Northumberland, discovered connections between past and present in a class about the Great Depression.

"I learned a lot and find many things cropping up daily that I now 'get' and would not have 'gotten' before the class," Totten said.

Institute membership
The institute's $35 annual membership year runs from July 1 to June 30. Individuals may join for the fall term only (through Dec. 31) for $20. Besides taking a role in the institute - from organizing to teaching to volunteering - members receive several benefits, including being able to register for up to two institute courses each term; receiving course catalogs as soon as they are available; receiving invitations to special campus events, lectures and activities; and receiving full, free access to the Bucknell Library. Members also are eligible for a $10 discount off the reserved seat full-admission price for two tickets to any evening event in the Weis Center series of professional arts performances.

For more information, including the fall 2010 schedule of courses and scholarship opportunities, e-mail the institute at or call institute chair Edward Cotter or coordinator Ruth Burnham at 570-577-7006.

The complete schedule, class descriptions and registration forms are available at

Contact: Division of Communications