Assumption College-sponsored WISE Celebrates 20 Years of Continuing Education for Older Adults

The Assumption College-sponsored Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE) is celebrating its 20th anniversary by holding “A Taste of WISE,” a free community event on June 19 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Assumption’s Hagan Campus Center Hall at 500 Salisbury St. WISE gives older adults in central Massachusetts an opportunity to continue learning on a convenient schedule, with less of a time commitment, and no grades or pressure.

The public is invited to sample one of a variety of WISE courses and hear keynote speaker Jim Verschueren, founding director of the Elderhostel Institute Network and a New Hampshire state representative, talk about what lifelong learning has meant to him. The event’s sponsors are WISE, Assumption College, and Worcester Arts Council, which is a local agency supported by Massachusetts Cultural Council.

According to Director Charlene Martin, Ed.D., ’78, WISE—which boasts more than 400 members—has been beneficial to local seniors looking for ways to contribute to and be active in the community. Studies show that older people who continue intellectual development and stimulation are less prone to forgetfulness and dementia. Her research demonstrates that other benefits of participating in a lifelong learning program include opportunities for personal growth, self-esteem, contribution, and empowerment in later life.

“Baby Boomers are not retiring in the same way as in the past,” Martin said. “WISE has been a vehicle for them to keep learning.”

Many WISE courses meet on Assumption’s campus, and others are held at local cultural organizations, such as Worcester Art Museum, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester Historical Museum, as well as at two retirement communities, Briarwood and The Willows at Worcester. Members also interact with the Assumption community by volunteering as guest speakers in classes, and by helping students who are looking to interview people for projects.
More information about “A Taste of WISE” can be found by visiting this website:

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College @AssumptionNews