MARSHALL - A good way to meet friends while stimulating your gray matter are good reasons to be a part of Senior College, students said.
The kickoff event for the fall session of Senior College took place Wednesday at Southwest Minnesota State University. Area residents who weren't already signed up could do so, meet their instructors and listen to the keynote speaker, Bev Wilson.
Senior College, which has been offered since 2002, has always been for individuals older than 50, but this year the age limit has been thrown out.
Photo by Karin Elton
From left, Marjorie Carlson and Mary Perry, both of Slayton, look over each other’s Senior College classes Wednesday. They were happy they were able to get all the classes they signed up for. Carlson is enrolled in four courses and Perry in three.
"People were interested," said Margaret Swanson, who is on the advisory board. "They have time off for whatever reason and wanted to take some of these classes."
Mary Berends of Marshall and Glenwood has been attending classes "as soon as I heard about it," which is for the past eight years.
"I love it," she said. "There is such diversity in what they offer."
Highlights for her have been classes taught by Ellayne Conyers about ghost towns and a chemistry class with Ed Carberry.
"I've gotten something out of each one that I've taken," she said.
Berends is taking four classes this session. Other classes she has taken in the past include "Gardening in Small Spaces" and a birdwatching class where they went outside and looked for birds.
In addition to learning new things, Berends has enjoyed the social aspect of Senior College.
"I've met so many nice people," she said.
Berends divides her time between Marshall and Glenwood and has taken lifelong learning classes in Alexandria, which she didn't like as much as the SMSU ones.
"It was a large lecture hall where someone talks for two hours," she said. "Here, there are smaller classes and more interaction. Someone in the class might say, 'I remember this,' so you get firsthand knowledge."
The first year Barb Verkinderen of Minneota signed up for Senior College, she also took advantage of the field trip that was offered that year - a trip to New Orleans.
"It was in early August in 2005," she said. "In late August Katrina hit."
In addition to seeing New Orleans before the hurricane changed the city forever, Verkinderen enjoyed seeing Mark Twain's home, plantations and learning more about the Civil War.
Bill Bergeron and Delphine Breyfogle of Shetek Township also attended the kickoff. Breyfogle has attended lifelong learning classes before and urged Bergeron to sign up for Senior College now that they are retired.
"There isn't a whole lot to do in the wintertime and this seemed like a nice little distraction," Bergeron said, adding that he found classes that interested him - "At the Movies," which will study the films of James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock, and "Collecting and Refurbishing Cars," which is taught by members of the Shades of the Past Car Club.
Breyfogle is taking a hiking/geocaching class. She said the two recently moved back into the area and taking these classes is "a great way to get to know people."