Emeritus kickoff offers summer courses for older adults

The Emeritus plus 50 kickoff April 19 gave students 50 and over a chance to meet some of the professors who are teaching summer classes. Bobby Berger entertained on his guitar before the event started.

Emeritus Director Cindy Berry told the attendees that the Emeritus program falls under the umbrella of Continuing Education. The program has undergone some massive website changes. It now has a Continuing Education/Facebook page. She encouraged everyone to sign up for the newsletter by going to Continuing Education, Summer 2018, clicking on Continuing Education and looking through the schedule of Summer 2018 classes.

“We have two areas that are specific Emeritus credit classes, computer and physical education,” Berry said. “Those are the only two areas that are designed strictly for Emeritus.”

Berry said anyone who is 65 years of age and over, has been a Texas resident for 12 months and lived in Dallas County for 12 months is entitled to take six credit hours tuition free per semester, but not the noncredit classes.  If an Emeritus student takes a regular credit class besides computer or physical education, they can only take that class free twice.    

Some of the instructors who teach noncredit courses were at the event.

Berger was one of those instructors. He has been playing the guitar for 35 years and will teach a “Development and Influence of American Music Throughout the World” class from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays,  June 11 through July 2. The cost is $35.

“I’m doing a course on music that influences American music to the world,” Berger said. It will include jazz, Dixieland, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and other great musicians.

Jim Bates, a retired aircraft engineer, is teaching a “Free Funeral … or Go for Broke” class from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 11-18.

“People think I’m the creepy funeral guy,” Bates said. “I’ve never been associated with the funeral business or anything like that,” he said. “I’ve been doing this nonprofit work for a little over 25 years, primarily with what’s called the Funeral Consumers Alliance, which is a national organization.”

Bates spoke about Barbara Bush, who recently died. Rather than remaining in the hospital, she chose comfort care at home, which he said is becoming more popular.

Regarding how people view death and funerals, Bates said, “The rest of the world does it right. We [the U.S.] does it wrong.” In his class, he will discuss Green Burial, an overview of how things are changing in the funeral industry and what’s important about that.

“We’re all older people,” he said.  “We have that traditional view. The thing is, the young people in that 20-to-30 age bracket right now, the millennials, are embracing Green Burial and Home Funerals.”

Brian Smith is teaching “The Art of Storytelling: Writing & Publishing Fiction” class from 7 to 9 p.m. July 1 to Aug. 8. He’s been teaching here for three years, is the author of 22 novels and owns a publishing company.

“I teach people how to write stories,” Smith said. “I love what I do. You will be light years ahead of 80 percent of the people out there trying to get published. I’ve had three students get book deals.”

Smith said that “creativity knows no age.  In my last class, I had a 70-year-old and a 19-year-old. I can’t guarantee that you will get your book published, but I can guarantee that you have whatever you need. I talk about everything from romance to spy thrillers.”

The Emeritus program is offering summer bus trips to the “George W. Bush Presidential Center: First Ladies Exhibit & Tour of Native Texas Park” on May 5, a “Guided Walking Tour of Dallas Farmers Market” May 19, “Explore Greeneville, Texas:  Wine Tasting & Walking Tour” June 2, the Dallas Theater Center Production of “Hairspray” July 11, “Paint Pottery at Art & Soul” July 28, and a “Museum of International Cultures Docent-Guided Tour” Aug. 18.

The Emeritus office is located in Thunderduck Hall, Room T160 in the Continuing Education office. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and the phone is 972-238-6972. Go to the Emeritus plus 50 website at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/cd/special-programs/senioradults/.