IRP program centers on learning for a lifetime


When Louanne Lang retired eight years ago, she wanted to use her newfound freedom to learn. She thought IRP, a program of University College at Fairfield University, had what she was looking for. "The quality of education is a tremendous benefit. It's important to keep the brain stimulated," said Lang, a Redding resident.

The IRP is a membership of like-minded people who participate in broadly-based monthly symposia led by distinguished members of the Fairfield University faculty. They also audit a wide range of courses, and attend special interest programs, all taking place on the Fairfield campus. Membership is open to the intellectually curious over 50. The philosophy of IRP mirrors that of University College in that it encourages lifetime learning, and aims to enrich people intellectually and personally.

Bridgeport resident Ed Kamens said he has appreciated the exchange of dialogue with professors and undergraduates. "Even though you are auditing courses, you are still taken in like you are part of the family. It's been wonderfully stimulating. The university is a gem in our community, and the curriculum is unique in its depth and breadth."

Members can explore the world of arts and humanities via a spectrum of courses. One can audit one undergraduate course each semester. (The fall semester runs from September to December; the spring semester runs from January to May.) Courses generally meet once a week from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., although there are a limited number of courses offered during the day. Members are encouraged to register and select courses to be audited during Open Registration Day on Thursday, Jan. 4 at University College from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Membership is currently $210 per semester, with a spouse's fee costing $167.

For more info, please call (203) 254-4307 or visit www.farfield.edu/irp. All IRP registrations and course selections must be received by Jan. 12.

Other member benefits include discounted tickets to Open VISIONS Forum and Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts events, free on-campus parking, and a discount on use of the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Recreational Complex.

IRP participants include members from careers in engineering, finance, management, sales and public relations as well as retired professionals in the fields of dentistry, medicine, law, editing/writing, social work and education.

Rowayton residents Pete and Linda Scull feel that Florida can wait. They are happy going to Judaic Studies and art history classes. In addition to stimulating classroom conversation with "bright" and hard-working students, the Sculls have discovered a whole new life at Fairfield. They are steady attendees with friends and grandchildren of Open VISIONS Forum, Quick Center performances, and Stags games. Linda Scull said, "In some ways, Fairfield University is really a hidden jewel. But we're so glad we've discovered it, because now it's become our university."

Lang introduced her husband, James, to the program after he retired. For him, the main attraction has been the wide array of courses that delve into topical issues in politics and history as well as the arts. James Lang said, "It's been a time to reflect on the world and what is going on in it. Being retired, it has also been great being with young people and getting an opportunity to understand them better."

His wife felt a connection early on with fellow IRP members and has made many friends. "It's an intelligent, lovely group," Louanne said. "I continue to be excited to take courses that appeal to me across the board, from philosophy to environmental studies. It has been a wonderful opportunity to not only learn, but to be in an atmosphere with younger people."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 3, 2007

Vol. 3, No. 108