Clermont Park took the concept of life-long learner to whole a new level this summer with the launching of Clermont College of Creative Life. The school began in June 2014 as a way to present the Masterpiece Living program “Living It!” which focuses on experiencing and learning new things in all four of the Masterpiece Living successful aging components: Social, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual.
But the idea of actually transforming the campus into a college came from a resident, Elsa Wycisk, who said: “We have such educational and engaging programs; why not turn it into a college and even have a graduation?”
To begin, residents, family members and staff were asked if any of them would like to lead or instruct a course, and the response was overwhelming. The community offered 37 new courses taught by 26 faculty members as part of its summer college. The enthusiasm for taking courses was even greater. More than 200 residents attended at least one or more courses. That’s two-thirds of all Clermont Park residents, and they represented the entire community – independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing.
In order to graduate from the college, participants had to take three or more classes in each of the four disciplines (Social, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual) for a total of at least 12 classes.
On Aug. 21, 2014, residents graduated, and Dr. Roger Landry, president of Masterpiece Living traveled to Denver to give the commencement address and present the diplomas.
Since the summer college has been so successful and engaging, Clermont College of Creative Living is expanding into a trimester offering. The course catalog is already published for the fall trimester, which will run October through December, and the spring trimester is slated from February-May.
“We are constantly looking at ways to shift the social myths of aging and debunk ageism,” said Moriah Bernhardt, director of community life at Clermont Park. “One of the ways to do that is to actively engage and show people that we are life-long learners and educators at any age in life.”