The Lifelong Learning Institute at NLU

National Louis University Redefines Retirement

Every Monday through Friday, people like Evanston resident Dee Hannan and Bob Radunsky of Northbrook, can be found in the fourth-floor classrooms at National Louis University’s North Shore Campus in Skokie. Dee, a former elementary school teacher and NLU alum, and Bob, who was an executive of an international oil company for 35 years, chose to become involved in the university’s Lifelong Learning Institute because it offered such a distinctive peer-learning experience.

Hannan and Radunsky, along with more than 350 other Chicago and North suburban-area adults over age 55, are members of National Louis University’s Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI).  LLI’s courses provide a chance for adults of retirement age to explore new subjects and exchange opinions and ideas with contemporaries. Members tackle a wide range of topics they’ve suggested, like literature, film, science, current events, music and history in courses that meet weekly for two-hours. At each session, individual members volunteer as leaders and, by asking thought-provoking questions, a lively discussion by class participants ensues.

Radunsky, who has become an avid golfer and cyclist, says it’s been just as important to keep his mind fit since he quit working 8 years ago. “This program has been an incredible learning experience and the spirited discussions we have in our “What If” class definitely have kept me mentally stimulated.” 

Hannan, who is a talented weaver and active traveler, admits that “LLI is a big part of my life. I love the mental stimulation I don’t find anywhere else.”  She is currently co-coordinating a class on The Underground Railroad.

“Involve me” – the Advantage of Peer Learning
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me, and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.” His words describe the way the National Louis member-driven, peer learning program is run. LLI members are on the governing council, chair the operational committees and serve on those committees. Members propose and coordinate the study groups that are offered. And each week, members volunteer to lead the discussion in those study groups. The key is learning from one another. No grades, no exams – just exploring new subjects and exchanging opinions and ideas with contemporaries who consider learning an integral part of life. 

“This is truly remarkable and not the traditional way of education,” says, Joan Marks, former Director of The Lifelong Learning Institute. “LLI values your individual experiences that enable all of you to work together to create meaning from multiple perspectives.”   “There is something for everyone who is looking for new ways to pursue interests they never had time for when they were working,” said Joan Marks,  “And, the best way for someone to really find out if this peer led program is right for them, is to experience it first-hand.” Marks encourages anyone who is interested to call and make a date to attend a class.  

How the program works
The cost of membership, $420 for the 2013-2014 academic year, includes two 15-week Fall and Spring semesters and two 5-week winter/summer sessions. Classes meet once a week for two hours and participants can take up to three classes a semester. Special rates are available for people who want to try out the program or just attend for one semester.

Current members say they enjoy the invigorating atmosphere at National Louis University’s conveniently-located North Shore Campus. Additional benefits include an opportunity to create a community of peers, meet engaging faculty, incomparable member customer service and free on-campus parking.

About the Lifelong Learning Institute

The mission of the Lifelong Learning Institute is to play a significant role in the lives of adults who seek continued intellectual growth and to provide opportunities for social interaction.

For more information on the Lifelong Learning Institute, visit


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