WCU launching new program for retirees this fall

Western Carolina University is launching a new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older across Western North Carolina who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge.

The institute, based on the idea that “learning is for everyone” and titled LIFE@WesternCarolina, will feature weekly interactive seminars in Cullowhee and Asheville. Sessions will focus on a wide variety of topics spanning business, history, science, literature, politics and personal development.

LIFE@WesternCarolina is designed to extend to residents of the greater WNC community the wide array of academic resources available at the university and in the community, said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost.

“The LIFE program is for retirees, alumni and community members seeking to engage in lifelong learning. It is for those seeking networking, community and engagement in the learning process,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “The program topics will nourish the mind, spirit and body.” 

The institute will include educational lectures, social opportunities and field trips as presenters, including university faculty, share expertise from a variety of backgrounds, she said.

Sessions are weekly for 12 weeks during the fall and spring semesters. Fall semester programs are tentatively scheduled to get underway Sept. 9 in Cullowhee and Sept. 10 in Asheville.

Participants will register for sessions being held at one of two sites. Programs will be held Tuesdays at the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching adjacent to the WCU campus in Cullowhee, and Wednesdays at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, located at 28 Schenck Parkway in Asheville. Sessions at both sites will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until noon.

Among the proposed topics for this fall are “Operations of the Biltmore House,” “Useful Legal Matters,” “Cherokee and the Seven Clans,” “How the Civil War Affected WNC,” “Native Plants,” “Local Scenic Hikes,” “Making the Theory of Evolution Clear to People Like You and Me,” “Storytelling in Appalachia,” “Seeing, Imagining and Recording: The Process of Creative Writing,” “Theater and Design,” “The Major Differences between the Core Beliefs of Conservatives and Liberals,” “State and Federal Politics and Trends: Impact on the Economy and Education,” “Terrorism and Global Threats,” “Being and Doing Good” and “Living While Dying.”

Cost of membership in the institute is $125 per year, including 24 engaged learning experiences with opportunities to take part in additional activities related to some of the topics. Participants may attend all or as many sessions as they like.

For more information or to register for the LIFE@WesternCarolina institute, contact the Division of Educational Outreach at 828.227.7397 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the website life.wcu.edu.

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