Driven to Discover, LearningLife Style

Rosemary Foley

Part one of a two-part series

LearningLife participants know what it means to be engaged with the University and with life, and as participant Rosemary Foley can testify, her personal drive to learn and grow has been a focus for decades.

"I've been taking evening classes for perhaps 20 years," she says, recalling when the College of Continuing Education (now called the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, or CCAPS) offered 'Dollar Lectures.' "A dollar was collected at the class, with experts in the field covering a variety of topics."

And while CCAPS' noncredit programs may have changed over time, "They remain a hallmark of the college," says LearningLife Program Director Anastasia Faunce.

"The University always had opportunities for evening classes, but LearningLife really expanded the depth and breadth of offerings," notes Rosemary. "I've taken classes on topics that I never could have imagined: opera, probability, neuroscience! What a ride it's been."

"I've found the Samplers* to be a good way to introduce new people to LearningLife," Rosemary says, when asked about sharing these learning opportunities. "I simply talk with friends I think share a similar interest in a topic. I've introduced seven people to LearningLife classes, most of these are people I've worked with. I love taking classes with friends, but have continued to take them on my own when I can't find someone interested in my topic." That is what a real drive to learn new things looks like.

"One of the things I emphasize about LearningLife is the high quality of the instructors. I'm very grateful to LearningLife for finding such stimulating topics and such great instructors. And the other attendees really want to be there, so the learning environment generates good questions and discussions."

"I like to think we are doing something right, given the sheer number of people like Rosemary who choose to join us class after class, year after year," says Anastasia. "Her presence is both an inspiration and a gift; she's thoughtful and motivated, and a spirited ambassador for the program."

LearningLife's fascinating and diverse topics aside, Rosemary believes the courses are about community and bringing passionate people together. "In a world filled with division, distrust, and discouragement," she urges, "these courses are a place to learn new things in a respectful and engaging setting with highly respected instructors. It is a place to focus on the pursuit of knowledge, which is always an antidote to ignorance."

Published on December 3, 2018