E-news November, 2017
It is with sadness that I have to report the death of Jon Cheston, a founder of Senior College and its first president from 2001 to 2006. Jon remained active in Senior College right up until his final illness, taking classes, serving on the Curriculum Committee, organizing volunteers, and always being interested in what was taking place. Jon was a key leader in community affairs, serving on the Belfast City Council, working to establish a performing arts center, and serving many years on the board of Waldo Community Action Partners. It has been a great privilege for me to know and work with him. He will be greatly missed by many. The family will hold a memorial service for Jon at the Hutchinson Center on Saturday, December 16, at 11:00 a.m. and invites all to attend.
Six of us from Senior College at Belfast traveled to the Schoodic Institute the last Saturday in October for a symposium of the six northeastern Maine Senior Colleges. Besides us, there were delegations from Bar Harbor, Rockland, Bangor, Ellsworth, and Machias. Anne Cardale of the Maine Senior College Network was the keynote speaker. Most of the day was spent learning about each other and sharing common concerns. It was encouraging to all to learn that our Senior Colleges have so much in common and are working in tandem to provide ongoing intellectual stimulation for seniors all over Maine.
Recruiting members, faculty, and volunteers was a universal concern. The consensus was that personal contact and word of mouth is the key. That was backed up by one year-long survey about what drew people to enroll. Second most important was publishing and distinguishing each session’s catalog. All of us have a predominance of women members reflecting the demographic we serve. Also, all have a predominance of members “from away” over Maine natives. This seemed likely to reflect a greater need for newcomers to find community. While there was some concern that we don’t serve more people than we do, it was also recognized that every area has several adult education outlets designed for different needs. One place we stood out was in our online presence, which others were only beginning.
It was inspiring to learn that we truly are part of a Senior College community spanning the state. We hope that these gatherings can be held regularly, perhaps even in Belfast.
Jon Cheston, a long-time member of the Curriculum Committee, passed away last month, and we would like to gratefully acknowledge his years of service to our committee and to Senior College.
Several other members of our committee have found it necessary to resign recently due to myriad outside commitments, and so we are now actively seeking new volunteers to fill these vacated slots. All you need is the willingness to seek and reach out to potential instructors so we can continue to offer the diverse and outstanding courses for which Senior College has become famous. We meet the third Wednesday of every month at 1:15 p.m. to discuss course proposals, determine how best to achieve and maintain a balanced curriculum, and meet the requests of our Senior College members. Our meetings usually last about one hour. Please consider becoming part of our team.
Chair, Curriculum Committee
The Publicity Committee recently met and agreed to republish the popular bookmarks. The Committee is in the process of distributing them to local book stores, libraries, and other venues.
Postcards for Winterim will be printed and mailed in late December or early January.
We are pursuing creating a DVD on the Legends of Belfast Senior College. This project would include interviewing and taping conversations with the organizers and leadership of our organization in order to provide a filmed record of the organization, which plays a major role in the Belfast area.
Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season.
Special Events Committee
Last month a group of students from Belfast Senior College spent a morning visiting the Islamic Center of Maine. The visit was organized around a class on the Children of Abraham, a study of the three great religions deriving from the prophet Abraham. Senior College President Arlin Larson, teacher of the popular class, accompanied members of the class as well as other interested Senior Collegians to the Orono based Center.
The visitors were welcomed by members of the Islamic faith who worship regularly at the Center. A guided tour of the facility was followed by a roundtable discussion between the hosts and visitors. The open, positive discussion was enlightening and educational. All agreed that it was a special and edifying visit and that more contact between those of the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faith would only be beneficial to all of the “Children of Abraham.”
Senior College Videos
Videos of Senior College classes about Maine (including the recent “Mainscapes”) are now available on the Senior College website. Go to the “what’s Happening” pull-down menu, and then click on “Videos.”
1933 to 2017
Founder & first president of Senior College