lifelong learning

October Lifelong Learning Programs

CLIR classroomCLIR, a lifelong learning program offered in collaboration with UConn Extension, will hold the following classes in October, all in Vernon Cottage on UConn’s Depot Campus,from 1:15 to 2:45 unless otherwise noted.

Memoir Club                                                  Thursdays     10:15 – 11:45

Wed  Oct 4  Putin vs. the World

Tues Oct 10  Everything You Wanted to Know About the English Auxiliary Verb, But Were…

Wed  Oct 11  Gender and Politics in a Comparative Perspective

Tues  Oct 17  AARP CT presents The Con Artist Playbook:  A Look Inside the Mind of a Criminal

Thurs Oct 19  They Called Her Reckless:  A True Story of War, Love and One Extraordinary Horse

Wed  Oct 25  Before the War:  The Multicultural Empire of Vietnam

Thurs Oct 26  Gender from the Perspective of a Biopsychologist

Tues  Oct 31  The History and Mission of the CT Superior Court

Lifelong Learning Program on Immigration

CLIR speaker

Over 50 people came to hear Dr. Ann Jarosznska-Kirchman, Distinguished Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University speak on the History of Immigration in Connecticut as part of our Lifelong Learning program. See the full list of upcoming programs at

Lifelong Learning in September

CLIR group

CLIR, a lifelong learning program offered in collaboration with UConn Extension, will hold the following classes in September, most in Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot Campus:

Memoir Club                                                  Thursdays from Sept 7        10:15 – 11:45

An Introduction to the Socio-Cultural Roots of Climate Change  Sept 11, 18, 25, 7:00 – 8:30, at CLiCK in Willimantic, 41 Club Road

History of Immigration to Connecticut        Wednesday, Sept 13     1:15-2:45

Knot Theory and Its Application in Performing Arts          Wednesday, Sept 20     1:15-2:45

A Two-Part Course on Universal Basic Income:    From the Viewpoint of an Economist             Tuesday, Sept 26     1:15-2:45

From the Viewpoint of a Computer Scientist    Thursday, Sept 28     1:15-2:45

Confronting Tough Issues

CLIR groupThree times each academic year the Center for Learning In Retirement (CLIR) volunteers develop a course schedule that often includes classes on tough issues facing our society, providing members with expertise from knowledgeable presenters, as well as a forum to ask questions.

One such topic is the huge problem of crumbling home foundations, currently being discussed by the state legislature. In February 2017, CLIR members heard contractor Salvatore De Sciscio identify the source of the problem, a mineral called pyrrhotite that was unknowingly mixed in with concrete used to build hundreds of homes. He also discussed possible solutions. In a second class Attorney Brenda A. Draghi related her experiences with several affected families, recounting what can and is being done to help, and noting the financial impact on towns and cities for many years to come, as the greatly reduced value of the homes shrinks the property tax base. Both classes were well attended, and led to thoughtful discussions among participants and speakers.

25 Years of Lifelong Learning

Article by Kim Colavito Markesich

Orginally published by

CLIR groupThis fall, the UConn Extension Center for Learning in Retirement (CLIR) celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary of providing interesting and engaging lifelong learning activities for retirees and other adults. The milestone was celebrated October 19 with a luncheon at the Deanston House in Storrs.

The UConn Board of Trustees first chartered CLIR in September 1991, under the Division of Continuing and Extended Education. Four years ago, the program was transitioned to UConn Extension.

“The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources has been very supportive,” says Stephen Kenton, CLIR president and professor emeritus at Eastern Connecticut State University. “We have a lot of people we depend on from Extension. They not only help us, they are so positive. They’ve just been wonderful.”

The center provides educational classes and courses in a variety of subjects, from history and politics to health and the arts. Membership fees are $20 per term (three terms per year) and members may attend as many classes as they wish. The lectures include single talks and short courses, all offered at the Vernon Cottage on the UConn Mansfield Depot Campus.

“When I retired, I knew I had a clear choice to either spend my time watching television until my mind turned to oatmeal, or I could find things to do that would challenge me physically and mentally to retain my faculties for as long as possible,” says Howard Raphaelson, CLIR member. “CLIR has helped me maintain my mental capabilities by exposing me to a variety of experts in many fields.” Before retirement, Raphaelson worked in the financial department of an international marketing company.

“Lifelong learners have an eclectic interest in lots of things,” says Kenton. “Most of our speakers find themselves ten minutes into a talk before people pepper them with questions. People are very engaged. There is a lot of give and take during the sessions.”

“The audiences are interested in what the speakers have to say,” says Cathleen Love, professor in the Department of Extension and CLIR administrative liaison. “They show up and are very grateful for the program. People at this age often find themselves isolated. This is a way to keep their brains active and maintain a social connection.”

“I visited similar programs across the country,” Love says. “This is by far the least expensive, and it’s run by a phenomenal group of retired people who have devoted an enormous amount of their time to make this program work. It’s the hardest working group of volunteers I know.”

On average, the Center maintains approximately 250 members, with twenty to sixty people attending each class. The College provides extension staff assistance, as well as a location with parking. In turn, the CLIR contributes $6,000 per year to the University.

“We’ve had wonderful faculty members come in and speak,” Love says. “Steve is phenomenal at asking people to lecture. We’ve had presentations from the UConn president and provost, as well as almost every dean. Little by little, the group is becoming more woven into the UConn community.”

“This program is an example of why we need to be reflective about aging. When I went around the country, there were 95-year-olds teaching amazing dynamic courses that people couldn’t wait to get into. In our society, we tend to say that at a certain age we are done. For me, this program has been such a gift.”

“Land grant universities were set up to serve all of the population,” Love points out. “Lifelong learning is a form of adult education and this outreach is critical to the mission of Extension.”

Love hopes to build more partnerships with Extension, the University and the community. “I think there are collaborative partnerships that we could build that would engage populations of all ages with the community in ways that would be very powerful. Including everyone in the work of a community provides us with resources we may otherwise overlook. CLIR is a community resource that has provided an outstanding service for adult learners for twenty-five years.”

CLIR provides meaningful and serious intellectual activities for retirees and other adults from all walks of life, conducted in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. There are no academic requirements.

CLIR classes are offered in two formats: single classes and courses. A single class consists of one and a half hours. A course consists of two or more classes scheduled in successive weeks.

All classes are held at the Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot Campus. Join CLIR today, new members are always welcome. You are invited to sample a single class or two at no cost.

Summer CLIR Classes

CLIR group


The Center for Learning In Retirement (CLIR) offers lively discussions on various topics, moderated by Betty Heiss and Lynn Mardon on Wednesdays, June 28 and July 5, 12, 19, and 26, 1:15 – 2:45 at Vernon Cottage on UConn’s Depot Campus.  If you would like to suggest a discussion topic with which you have some familiarity, email Betty at or Lynn at  Please include your phone number.  We hope you’ll join us!


April Classes with Lifelong Learning

CLIR group

CLIR classes for April, held in Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot campus, all from 1:15-2:45 p.m. except for Memoirs and Great Decisions.


Memoir Club – Thursdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27 from 10:15-11:45

Great Decisions:  topics in foreign policy – Tuesdays, April 11, 18, 25  from 10:15-11:45

What is The Enlightenment? – Thursdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27

UConn President Susan Herbst – Wednesday, April 12

The Nationalist/Populist Reaction to Globalism: A Threat to Democratic Forms of Government – Tuesday, April 18

They Return: Our Defender and Prosecutor – Wednesday, April 19

Savor the Moment: cultivating awareness using mind-body experience – Friday, April 21

Under the Hood of Genetically-Engineered Crops – Tuesday, April 25

Legal and Constitutional Origins of Racism in America – Wednesday, April 26

March Lifelong Learning Classes

CLIR group

CLIR classes for March will be held in Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot campus, all from 1:15-2:45 p.m. except for Memoirs:

Memoir Club                Thursdays, March 2, 9, 16, 23 – 10:15-11:45 a.m.

Water Systems of Rome through the Ages           Wednesday, March 1

Cahokia:  America’s First City             Wednesday,March 8

Why There Can Be No “Theory of Everything” and Why Your Existence Depends

Upon This             Thursday, March 9

How Big Is Your Water Foortprint?    Wednesday, March 15

A Time Economy:  An Opportunity to Learn Skills and Teach Others         Tuesday, March 21

Strangers and Neighbors:  Multiculturalism, Conflict, and Community in America        Wednesday, March 22

Lifelong Learning: February Classes

CLIR groupCLIR lifelong learning classes for February, held in Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot campus, all from 1:15-2:45 p.m. except for Memoirs:

Memoir Club – Thursdays, February 2, 9, 16, 23           10:15-11:45

The Politics of War and Peace – Wednesday, February 1

Crumbling Foundations in CT Homes:  A Contractor’s Perspective – Tuesday, February 7

The Role of the Barber Shop in Southern Black Culture – Wednesday, February 8

Crumbling Foundations in CT Homes:  An Attorney’s Perspective – Wednesday, February 15

Living with Intention:  The Art of Letting Go – Thursday, February 16

The Ugly Side of Cute:  Anthropomorphism and Conceptual Metaphor – Tuesday, February 28

Lifelong Learning – January Classes

string group

The Center for Learning In Retirement, or CLIR is offering classes for January, focusing on lifelong learning. All classes are held in Vernon Cottage on the UConn Depot campus, all from 1:15-2:45 p.m. except for Memoirs:


Memoir Club, Thursdays, January 5 – March 30; 10:15-11:45

Making Cladograms, Tuesday, January 10

American Elections: Myths, Legends and Modern Reality

(presented by CT Secretary of the State Denise Merrill), Thursday, January 12

Medical Marijuana, Wednesday, January 18

Being Prepared Isn’t Just for Boy Scouts, Thursday, January 19

CAFE Guitar (live performance and discussion), Tuesday, January 24

The Politics of War and Peace, Wednesdays, January 25 and February 1

Climate and Hunter-Gatherers:  How the Environment Shaped Prehistory, Tuesday, January 31

For more information, please visit our website at: