group of seniors at college campus entrance

For many Kendal at Granville residents, learning is a lifelong pursuit - particularly for Jan Hoftiezer and her husband Virgil.

“I’ve always been a naturally curious person,” Jan said. “Even in high school, there were so many classes that I wanted to take, but just couldn’t because we had requirements for graduation and there simply wasn’t enough time. I think a curious person needs to keep learning, and if that need isn’t met, it is a detriment.”

She added, “You know, you don’t necessarily need to go deep; you can dabble in many areas of interest to keep life exciting. Time flashes by so quickly, and if you remain stationary, you miss a lot.”

Continuing Education for Everyone

According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of older adults consider themselves lifelong learners. This includes everything from taking a course (in person or online) about something of interest, to reading self-help books or magazines about a new topic, to engaging in vocational training to prepare for a promotion or a career change.

The reasons to learn something new are varied, but personal enjoyment, feeling more confident and making new friends always top of the list!

Continuing education is a long-time American value. In 1963, AARP’s founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, Ph.D., announced the creation of the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), calling it a “grand experiment, an informal school offering courses to our members to meet their intellectual needs and to enhance their skills and talents.”

The Institute played a major role in shaping national attitudes about education beyond the normal 12 to 16 years; rather, it taught that education can continue throughout a lifetime. In 1977, the Institute of Lifetime Learning closed its schools and gave local sponsors total responsibility for its chartered extension Institutes.

Jan and Virgil Hoftiezer: Lifelong Learners

Three older adults walking around Denison University’s campusThe Hoftiezers have been involved in the local chapter of the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) since they moved here to Kendal at Granville in 2012. Some of the topics that Jan has explored since moving to Kendal at Granville include dinosaurs, archeology, geology and more.

Affiliated with the Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), LLI is an organization for seniors, managed by seniors to provide a broad range of educational options on topics such as art, literature, philosophy, science, languages, technology, spirituality, economics, world affairs and more.

Jan has served in a leadership role for the past five years and currently serves on the Steering Committee. In fact, the Hoftiezers are co-teaching a two-day course called DNA and DNA as a Toll in Genealogy, which will be held at the COTC Pataskala Campus.

Jan epitomizes the attitude of many Kendal at Granville residents who are always engaged in something, because as Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether they are twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

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The Lifelong Learning Institute

The LLI will return to our Kendal at Granville campus for the fourth year this spring as we host the nationally acclaimed program, Great Decisions. Created by the Foreign Policy Association, Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs.

A group of older adults talking and learning at Denison UniversityThe program provides background information and policy options for the eight most critical issues facing America each year, and it serves as the focal text for discussion groups across this country. The course runs from early February through late May.

According to Tonia Osborne, the LLI Coordinator at COTC, “This great partnership is a win-win for all, I’m very happy to say! It’s a lovely facility, and we enjoy being on the beautiful campus especially because it is so convenient and accessible for many local residents.”

In addition to the classes available through LLI, Kendal at Granville residents also have access to courses taught on the campus of Denison University. Residents may enroll as a community scholar, and audit classes in a variety of subject areas (with the professor’s approval) for a nominal fee.

More Activities at Kendal at Granville

Kendal at Granville is a resident-directed Life Plan Retirement Community, and the Resident Association brings many talented, knowledgeable programs to campus on a regular basis. Both an entertainment committee and a speakers’ committee are led by residents who seek out great performances or dynamic lecturers.

The relationship with local educational institutions and cultural organizations is symbiotic, and our residents get the best of all worlds. In the past, residents have had field trips to the Supreme Court of Ohio in Columbus, Denison’s lectures and Vail Series programs, and programs in local museums and galleries.

Upcoming events for residents and staff include a program on Native American Culture followed by a field trip to the Newark Earthworks, a national historic site.


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