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40 Years of Lifelong Learning

In 1983, a Brown University Dean of Summer and Continuing Studies launched a new program with an ad in the Providence Journal. The ad invited retired adults to sign up for a new series of classes which were to grow out of informal meetings among some retired Brown professors. Fifty people signed up for the first classes, and over the years, that Brown University Dean’s office planned for and administered courses with more of a traditional “student and teacher” dynamic than the collaborative “learner and coordinator” one we use today. Brown University named those classes “Brown Community Learning in Retirement” – rendered in print as BCLIR and pronounced “be clear.”

By 2008, BCLIR had grown into a much larger community of several hundred learners who wanted more courses at a more affordable cost. In short, BCLIR members had grown beyond their Brown campus roots. An amicable split occurred. BCLIR left all of its Brown connections and became an independent organization with its own governing Board, newsletter, course offerings, and organizational committees. In 2009, we received our IRS status as a non-profit organization.

For a while, we kept the name as BCLIR and changed it to “Building a Community of Learners in Retirement.” That was a clever re-work, but in 2013, we renamed ourselves to reflect more clearly who we really are: lifelong learners participating in classes, learning new skills, discovering new information, gaining new knowledge – all of it being done together, in a collaborative style. We launched our new Lifelong Learning Collaborative name as part of an ambitious yearlong series of programs about Health and Aging.

Today we are about 500 members strong!

"LLC has come a long way since years ago at 125 members.  It's nice to be part of the organization that has provided meaningful activities for active retirees."

Allan Klepper, Barrington

From BCLIR to LLC: 1983-2023

The following video premiered at the LLC Fall Convocation "Celebrating 40 Years of Lifelong Learning" (September 7, 2023).