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Message from the Director

Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore

Last Message from the First Director

This spring is my final semester as director of Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore.  It was 2002 when a few of us Swarthmore professors launched it on the campus.  Later we brought it to New York City and Boston.

Managing our program has been enormously challenging but also great fun, a perfect follow-up to my career teaching Swarthmore undergraduates.  I am deeply grateful to the many people at the college and among alumni and alumnae who have supported our project.  To name them here would be neither easy nor appropriate—with one exception:  Al Bloom, the college president at that time, gave me and my co-founders the advice, encouragement, and full support, financial included, that were necessary for the success of our experiment.

My gratitude now extends to the person who has volunteered to become the next director:  Hansjakob Werlen, Professor of German Studies at Swarthmore.  Hansjakob is a great teacher of literature, a personal friend, and someone familiar to alums of LLS through having taught in it, as he is doing again in Manhattan this semester.

Numbers provide one way of measuring the success of LLS.  As of the end of 2018, we gave 68 different courses in 18 academic fields.  They were taught by 30 full professors or emeriti.  And almost 600 different students took them, 50 of whom took eight courses or more.

Another measure of success can be seen in the anonymous course reviews that we request from all of our students.  These are overwhelmingly positive.  LLS courses combine mental challenge, new learning, camaraderie, and fun.

To close, I quote once more from my original Message:  Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore has struck a deep vein of desire for intellectual challenge, giving proof of the enduring need for high-quality liberal arts education and of Swarthmore’s ability to provide it.

--Gil Rose, January 2019