Genesee Is Growing Educational Resource For Senior Adults, Dean Reports

More than 1,400 senior adults in the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming region participated in credit and non-credit classes at Genesee Community College last year, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education Jerry Kozlowski reported to the College's Board of Trustees this evening. Genesee, according to Dean Kozlowski, is growing as a prime educational resource for people over the age of 50.

Last year, 244 individuals over the age of 50 were pursuing academic degrees at Genesee. An additional 1,177 individuals attended a variety of continuing education seminars and courses, ranging from genealogy to creative writing.

Although the number of senior adults - loosely defined as people over the age of 50 - participating in college activities has increased in many programs, the College has a long history of service to seniors, Dean Kozlowski said. Service landmarks include:

• The introduction of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in 1972 by the College.

• Opening of college courses to seniors over the age of 60 at no charge, on a space available basis, in 1974. These individuals can attend courses as "auditors," and do not receive official college credit.

• New arts and cultural events for seniors, introduced in 1986 and 1987. The College, in cooperation with the Genesee Arts Council, offered free film festivals during these years.

• The "55 Alive" driving program, co-sponsored with the American Association of Retired Persons, which began in 1988.

• New life skills and planning programs, which began in 1990. These included estate planning and long term care seminars, Elderhostel (which ran for two years), and health-related courses.

• A special seniors promotion in 1995, which offered continuing education programs at a senior discount, introduced senior adults to a variety of new personal enrichment courses, ranging from conversational Italian to line dancing.

• "Personal Computers for Seniors," a highly popular continuing education course which began in 1996.

A community college serves many roles, Dean Kozlowski noted. "One of these roles is to bring a variety of educational programming to people of all ages, including senior adults," he said. "We are very proud of the courses and services we have offered over the years, and we encourage local seniors to take advantage of the many credit and non-credit programs offered at the Batavia Campus and at our five regional campus centers."

As the average age of the population increases, and as senior adults seek to fill their time with satisfying activities, seniors will use the College even more in the years ahead, predicted Dean Kozlowski. "I believe we will see people in their fifties and sixties preparing for their second, third, or fourth careers," he said. "And I believe they will do so here at Genesee. I also believe that, as people in their sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond want to learn new skills and develop new interests, Genesee will be one of the prime resources available to them."