Classes and trips part of spring lifelong learning activities

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Lifelong Learning Academy members.

Registration is under way for Lifelong Learning Academy classes.

KALAMAZOO—Classes on such diverse subjects as the opera, oriental rugs, modern newsgathering and French conversation are on tap during February for the Lifelong Learning Academy at Western Michigan University.

And, thanks to a continuing collaboration with the Grand Rapids Opera, both members and non-members of the Lifelong Learning Academy will be able to attend dress rehearsals and productions of the opera company.

Additional classes also are planned for March and April and will tackle the likes of seafaring, sustainability, outdoor sculpture and the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde. In all, 20 classes will be offered.

The academy has also planned several one-day trips for spring; registration is now under way for all classes and trips.

  • To Muskegon to sites of both historic and artistic interest
  • Along Route 12, the old Sauk Trial, with discussion of the sites by Dr. John Geisler, professor emeritus of counselor education and counseling psychology
  • To Detroit under the leadership of Dr. Lawrence Schlack, professor emeritus of educational leadership, to learn about efforts to rebuild the city

Partnership with Grand Rapids Opera

The continuing collaboration with the Grand Rapids Opera will begin with a visit on Wednesday, Feb. 6, with Lifelong Learning students attending the dress rehearsal of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." Considered by many to be the greatest opera ever written, the Don Juan story expertly combines comedy and tragedy supported by a gorgeous score. Students will be escorted by Dr. Gus Gianakaris, professor emeritus of English, and will arrive in Grand Rapids in time for an early dinner followed by the opera. Cost for the bus and dinner in Grand Rapids is $85 for academy members and $95 for non-members.

On May 1 there will be another trip to the Grand Rapids Opera, this time to see "La Traviata." The story revolves around the love between a young man and a courtesan, intergenerational conflict and family honor. The music by Verdi is lush and memorable. An early dinner will be followed by the dress rehearsal. The cost is $85 for academy members and $95 for non-members.

Lifelong Learning Academy

The academy, developed under the auspices of Extended University Programs, provides low-cost, short-term learning experiences for adults in an informal and stimulating environment. There are no exams or grades. Classes take place on campus and at various regional locations. Academy faculty are volunteers, some are retired WMU faculty, others experts from the community.

A complete brochure for spring is available at or by calling the Extended University Programs office at (269) 387-4200.