senior u: college degrees for adults

Have you always wanted to go to college but never had the opportunity? If you are over 65 and live in lower Westchester, you may soon have your chance. Concordia College in Bronxville is partnering with Wartburg in Mt. Vernon to enable retirees to earn college degrees. Senior U will start this fall at Wartburg, with hopes of expanding to additional locations in Westchester.

David Gentner, Wartburg CEO and President, states, “There are seniors who are active and vital and interested… in bettering themselves, many of those who have never had a chance to earn a college degree. We have created an option that is at very low-cost or no-cost.”

Jim Bunn, Special Assistant to the President at Concordia College, used a Wartburg focus group to develop Senior U. “The seniors have informed us every step of the way, which has been fantastic; it has morphed into a program that is designed by seniors, for seniors.”

Bunn says that Senior U will not be typical adult education, where people take one class at a time and chip away at a degree. It will be full “immersion.” While the program is not set in stone yet, the plan is for three class days each week, five hours a day. Students will travel with a cohort through the program and earn a two-year Associate’s Degree or a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

The program will be fully accredited and tailored to seniors. Bunn describes the classes as “experiential and participatory.” Sample classes range from computer training, money management, music, art and history to spirituality and social media.

Concordia faculty will teach classes and transportation will be provided to Wartburg from areas in lower Westchester. Students may expect to visit Concordia’s campus for art exhibitions, concerts and/or other activities relating to their coursework.

Gentner suggests participants will benefit in a number of ways: the pride from earning a college degree, as well as non-academic rewards such as meeting new friends, discovering new talents, and improving one’s physical and mental health.

Bunn believes the program can not only help people think in new ways, but it can give more structure and purpose to the lives of people who participate. Says Bunn, Senior U is “a re-imagined college curriculum unlike anything else.”

To learn more, contact Concordia University at 914-337-9300 ext. 2124.

Susie Aybar

Susie Aybar

Susie Aybar, BSN, MFA, is a writer based in Westchester County. A published poet, Susie facilitates a “Healing Through Writing” class for people who are affected by cancer at Gilda’s Club in White Plains.
Susie Aybar

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