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Adventures in Lifelong Learning

Experience the joy of learning without the pressure of grades, assignments or exams.

Adventures in Lifelong Learning is a membership-based program for adults 50 and better who want to continue learning while expanding their social networks through shared intellectual experiences.

Renowned faculty, interactive classes, and exciting lectures and events offer opportunities for members to grow intellectually, socially, physically and spiritually.

Memberships include:

  • Noncredit, short-term courses (four to five weeks)
  • Option to audit up to one LRU undergraduate course per term
  • Community and social events
  • Short educational tours
  • Health and wellness activities
  • Travel opportunities through La Roche’s Study Abroad office
  • Spiritual programming in partnership with La Roche’s founding congregation, the Sisters of Divine Providence

Learn about our Individual Membership options and Corporate Memberships.

Fall 2021 Pilot Courses

Mondays: Oct. 18-Nov. 15

Folk Art
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Instructor: Frances Halley

This class is part history lesson, part handmade creation. Learn about the decorative art of the 17th and 18th century Pennsylvania Dutch, and the symbolism behind their motifs and images. Create a colorful keepsake piece just in time for the holiday season. Folk artists were traditionally untrained and their work was simplistic and primitive. Therefore, no previous art experience is necessary.

About the Instructor
Frances Halley is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators, the Folk Art Society of America and the Guild of American Papercutters. She has a particular interest in American Folk Art, both historically and as an artistic genre. She lives in Ross Township with her husband, John and their dog, Lottie.

The Prophets: The Conscience of Israel
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Instructor: Ed Bobinchock, Ph.D.

One of the greatest contributions of the prophets in Israel is that they were able to imagine a world other than what it is. The world imagined by the prophets is a world of justice and equality for all people, especially the poor and marginalized in society. This course examines this vision of the world as articulated in the message of the pre-exilic prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

About the Instructor
Ed Bobinchock holds a Ph.D. in Biblical studies with a specialization in the Old Testament from Amridge University. He has served as a faculty at La Roche since 2007.

Dr. Bobinchock has taught various courses in Biblical Studies, Old Testament, New Testament, The Psalms and the Letters of St. Paul. In addition, he has taught courses in Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics and Philosophical Anthropology.

In recognition of his excellence in teaching, La Roche awarded Dr. Bobinchock the Brother Gregory Nugent Award for Excellence in Teaching. He currently serves as the Chair of the Humanities Division and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy. 

Tuesdays: Oct. 19-Nov. 16

Fitness Sampler
2:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Emily Shimko, Ed.D.

Learn a new type of fitness by doing each week. Examples of fitness types include yoga, strength, HIIT and walking/hiking. Participants must be able to handle physical activity. Some equipment may be required, but students will be notified of the schedule with their confirmation.

About the Instructor
Emily Shimko is an assistant professor in the Health Sciences Department at La Roche. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Slippery Rock University, and a master’s in exercise physiology and doctorate in healthy and physical activity from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Shimko is a certified exercise physiologist (American College of Sports Medicine), a certified strength and conditioning specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association), and registered yoga teacher (200 hour).

She previously worked as a personal trainer, and still loves teaching group fitness. She believes that taking classes is a great way to improve our physical health and fitness as well as finding a supportive social environment to meet our individual goals.

Wednesdays: Oct. 20-Nov. 17
Great Decisions
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Instructor: Jennifer Engel, M.S., MPPM

Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. Each week the class will watch a short video developed by the Foreign Policy Association and discuss the most critical global issues facing America today.

Depending on the topic, guest speakers may add their own insight. Topics can include Brexit, Korea, and the relationship between China and Africa. Learn more about the Great Decisions program.

About the Instructor
Jennifer Engel, M.S., MPPM is the executive director of La Roche's Center for Lifelong Learning. A skilled facilitator and lifelong learner, she is looking forward to learning alongside the students in this discussion group.

Animal Rights
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Instructor: Joshua Bellin, Ph.D.

Encounters with nonhuman animals can be rich and rewarding, but they can also be marked by mistreatment and suffering. This class explores the past, present and future of human/nonhuman encounters, asking such questions as: How do we think about nonhuman animals? What obligations do we have toward them? How might we develop more just and equitable relationships with them? Lectures supplemented by short readings and discussions will lead toward a better understanding, not only of other living creatures but of ourselves.

About the Instructor
Joshua Bellin, Ph.D., teaches courses in writing, literature and environmental issues at La Roche. A member of the La Roche faculty since 2000, Dr. Bellin received his B.A. in English from Wesleyan University in 1987 and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. In addition to teaching, he is a writer who has published numerous works of fiction, academic nonfiction and memoir.

Thursdays: Oct. 21-Nov. 18

The Gettysburg Campaign
1 to 3 p.m.
Instructor: David Albert

This course examines the events leading up to the battle, the three-day battle itself and the aftermath of what many consider the high water mark of the Confederacy. The course looks at many of the numerous controversies surrounding the battle on both sides as well as the who, what, where, when and why of one of the most studied campaigns in military history.

About the Instructor 
David Albert is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who has been a student of the Civil War for 50 years. He has visited all major battlefields and many of the smaller ones. He co-taught the Civil War elective at the U.S. Air Force's Air Command and Staff College, and was a Civil War docent for 12 years at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

He has taught Civil War courses for the old Elderhostel Program and currently teaches Civil War courses for the OLLI programs at both Pitt and CMU. He has also given talks on the Civil War to various organizations in the Pittsburgh area.

Special One-Time Events

A Welcoming Pittsburgh: Virtual Panel Discussion Event
Sponsored by the Quainton Center for Global Engagement
Tuesday, September 28
2-3 p.m.

Social Feedback Sessions During Lunch
Ryan Room, Zappala Campus Center, La Roche University

Meet the director and other classmates, and learn about the Adventures in Lifelong Learning program. For students in classes, bring or buy your own lunch on the day of your class.

  • Monday students: Oct. 25 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday students: Nov. 3 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday students: Nov. 11 from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

International Global Education Week
Week of Nov. 15

Events to be announced  


$25 per pilot course or $50 for a pilot membership which includes unlimited courses and use of the walking track at La Roche's Kerr Fitness & Sports Center between Oct. 18 and Nov. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. 

Register for Fall Pilot Courses

Register online or call 412-536-1026. You will receive a follow-up email with details including parking, building and room location and course information. COVID-19 and participation waivers will be required for all course participants. 

The University adheres to COVID-19 safety measures that align with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Allegheny County Health Department. Face coverings are required indoors on campus, regardless of vaccination status. 

For More Information

Center for Lifelong Learning