Rollins Announces Lifelong Learning Pilot Program With Mayflower Retirement Community

March 22, 2010

Rollins College recently announced a partnership with The Mayflower Retirement Community to launch a lifelong learning program for Mayflower residents. The new on-campus enrichment series will feature small classes with no more than 12 Mayflower participants and hands-on learning experiences.

The classes will cover a range of subjects, such as art, theater, writing, history and environmental sciences, and will be taught by Rollins faculty and staff. The lifelong learning pilot program is slated to begin in mid-March, with three sessions centered on the arts.

Alumna Jana Ricci (Class of 1980), director of marketing at The Mayflower (left), worked with Rollins' Kathryn Perrine, assistant director of special programs and events, and James Eck, associate vice president of academic affairs, on the College's first lifelong learning pilot program for seniors.

“As an institution that celebrates lifelong learning, Rollins is excited about our expanding partnership with The Mayflower in providing our community with greater opportunities for thoughtful discourse, intellectually stimulating seminars and shared appreciation of the arts,” said Lewis M. Duncan, president of Rollins College.

“The Rollins partnership with The Mayflower differs from other retirement community/university partnerships because of its focus on immersion in the subject matter, interactivity and a small teacher-to-student ratio,” said Jana Ricci, director of marketing for The Mayflower Retirement Community. “Our residents won’t just be sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture; they might be sculpting or participating on stage at the Annie Russell Theatre or learning to play a musical instrument. This is truly an inclusive partnership intended to engage older adults in learning.”

“A personalized relationship between the students and faculty is at the core of the Rollins learning experience,” said James Eck, associate vice president for academic affairs. “We intend to offer that same individualized learning experience to the seniors who participate in our program. It’s also a way we can ‘give back’ to the community.”

Rollins College and The Mayflower have a long, connected history. Both were founded by the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. And many residents at The Mayflower are Rollins alumni and/or former Rollins employees.

The Mayflower, which is located less than three miles from Rollins, will provide transportation for its residents to and from the classes. Although the courses are non-credit, the older adults benefit from the mental stimulation of intergenerational learning, which has been proven to enhance “brain fitness.”

According to Dr. Paul Nussbaum, clinical neuropsychologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, research from neuropsychology and neuroscience shows good brain fitness can lead to a sharper memory, faster processing of information, better attention and improved cognitive skills. Lifelong learning programs, along with active lifestyles and specific exercises designed to challenge cognitive skills, help to cultivate brain fitness.

Long committed to the concept that “it’s never too late to learn,” The Mayflower offers a series of intellectually stimulating programs ranging from economic forums and political “think tanks” to computer classes and conversational French.

“The partnership with Rollins is a wonderful idea,” says Winnie Eis, a Mayflower resident, graduate of Rollins Evening program, the Hamilton Holt School, and active volunteer at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on campus. “I particularly love the idea of continuing my relationship with the college now that I live nearby. I appreciate the opportunity to study art, music and theater in particular, so this seems to be a perfect fit.”

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