Senior alumni embrace lifelong learning
From Canadian history to black holes, alumni and friends take advantage of opportunities to explore new worlds
“I find it’s valuable to continue to explore new areas in life.”
It would seem Garry Giesbrecht and everyone else who came out to the fall session of the Seniors’ Alumni Learning for Life Program all shared the same desire to grow and learn.
Giesbrecht, who completed his education degree from the University of Manitoba in 1976, went on to do his masters at the U of A. After that, he became a principal for about 34 years in schools throughout Manitoba.
“The beautiful thing about this program is it has eclectic topics. You go to a session like today, black holes, well I’m an education graduate and my interest is in languages and culture, so black holes is something I would never really go to a lecture on,” says Giesbrecht.
The seven sessions in the Fall program varied greatly from lectures on memory and aging, feeding the north, and Canadian history, just to name a few.
Other than the diversity of topics, Giesbrecht also appreciates how much work U of M professors and researchers put into hosting their respective sessions, even going so far as bringing creative visuals to help present information. On top of that, he particularly enjoys getting to know fellow retirees and alumni from the U of M who attend.
“It’s a great morning at the U of M, of stimulating presentations and questions and discussions afterward. It’s very mentally and even socially stimulating,” says Giesbrecht. “There’s something a bit nostalgic about sitting in the theatre with your cup of tea or coffee on a cold morning in late November, it brings back beautiful memories of attending university,”
Debbie Wolfson graduated from the U of M with a degree in human ecology in 1995. As a mature student she says her experiences were different than the majority of students. She embodies lifelong learning and appreciates the Seniors’ Alumni Learning for Life Program and the opportunity to learn.
“I really enjoy this program,” says Wolfson. “This is my third session. The program gives me the chance to learn about different topics other than what I studied in human ecology.”
One lecture from the last season that stands out for Wolfson was by award-winning U of M researcher Grant Pierce on the benefits of flax.
“I loved learning about the studies they did and it was very practical and it was something you could relate to in everyday life. It was something I could take home with me and as a matter of fact, I had my flax this morning with my bowl of oatmeal,” says Wolfson.
The spring series that begins on March 29, 2017 has already sold out but planning has begun for another exciting and informative fall 2017 series.