FILL Program for Seniors at Florham
The Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning program or FILL was established in 1972 by Joseph Tramutola, Jr., now a retired business law professor. FILL’s first name was EPOP (Educational Program for Older Persons). The program originally offered the chance for senior citizens over the age of 65 to enroll in courses alongside traditional undergraduate college students.
Now seniors can audit courses, enroll for credit or opt for RPI (Retired Persons Institute) classes, taught by lifelong learners for lifelong learners. RPI classes include a mixture of academic and informal topics, covering subjects as far-flung as Irish literature, the brain and behavior, meditation and photography. FILL has also expanded by lowering the age requirement from 65 to 62.
Bruce Peabody, FILL director and political science professor says “It’s good for your body and good for your brain to keep active.” He states further “Stimulating oneself in a University context is a natural fit, in part because the University offers resources for both body and mind. You can take a class on opera appreciation and then go work out in the gym for 45 minutes and then take a meditation class. That’s a full afternoon of therapy and enrichment, right there. Come to think of it, sign me up too!”
For Maurice Stevens, a former oral surgeon from Mendham, N.J. who completed his B.A. in history in 2001, FILL’s intellectual stimulation has paid dividends in other leisure activities.
Stevens has traveled to China, Israel, Russia and Egypt and taken courses on modern Chinese politics and Israeli society. “You’re visiting with a deeper understanding of other countries, cultures and religions then,” he says. “You become more than just a tourist.”
At home, Stevens enjoys the interaction with traditional undergraduates. “It’s nice to be with young people,” he remarks. Most FILL students say being on campus keeps them feeling young. “I love to just hear what’s on younger people’s minds,” says Elaine Hoffman of Berkeley Heights, N.J.
Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learners also attend lectures, art shows, athletics events and plays together on campus. Some have standing lunch dates at the dining hall. “I might not want to go to a play by myself. But because I’m in the program, I can meet friends there,” explains Patricia Moran of Chatham, N.J., BS’63 (M), MBA’72 (T), who first connected with FILL through the Public Affairs Lecture Series, sponsored by FDU and held at the Morris Museum.
For more details including upcoming RPI class schedules, contact Prof. Bruce Peabody at 973-443-8729 or http://fillfdu.wix.com/fill