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Lifelong Learning Program kicks off May 21

By Jeannine Hutson
ECU News Services

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (May 12, 2011)   —   A new program focused on serving the over-50 aged population of eastern North Carolina will kick off Saturday with a free program at the Murphy Center on ECU’s campus.

Sponsored by the Continuing Education Program of ECU, the new Lifelong Learning Program will hold its first event at 1 p.m. with Dr. Elliot Engel, a scholar, performer and storyteller, presenting “A Light History of the English Language.” Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Lolita Harbit, associate director of continuing professional education, said many universities offer this type of program, including N.C. State University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and ECU leaders thought it was time to launch a similar course.

“We have an older population here and in most parts of the country that demographic is growing. Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, our provost, had an interest in starting a program here and thought it would be a good addition,” Harbit said.

The Lifelong Learning Program will have an annual membership fee of $35 with some individual classes or outings costing a small extra fee, such as if a bus has to be rented for transporting the group.

Upcoming summer off-campus programs are as follows:
  • June 11, tour of Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks;
  • June 21, “Satori: Jack Kerouac’s Carolina Road” in Rocky Mount, led by Alex Albright, director of ECU’s creative writing program;
  • June 30, Pilobolus, a dance troop, at the Durham Performing Arts Center, led by Patricia Pertalion, retired faculty member from the ECU School of Theatre and Dance;
  • July 20, art appreciation tour in the N.C. Museum of Art’s new wing, led by Michael Duffy.
On-campus classes will begin in August and will include topics such as Facebook, new library technology with a tour of ECU’s Joyner Library, aging related topics and issues, environmental studies, and a writing course taught by James Clark Jr., N.C. State professor emeritus.

The Lifelong Learners Program will not have a limit on the number of members who may join but some classes may be limited by the number of seats in a computer lab or classroom, Harbit said.

“Intellectual stimulation is important as we get older. The more we stimulate our brains, the better it is for our health,” she said. “This program will also be a way to meet new friends and develop social networks, especially for people who are living alone. It will be supported and led by members volunteering so there will be opportunities for people to be involved.”

For more information, contact Harbit at (252) 328-9198 or or visit the program’s webpage: