A golden anniversary for senior learners

An intergenerational crowd attends the 50th anniversary celebration of the lifelong learning institute.

Guests raise their glasses in a toast to the Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning program. (Photo: Brian Lewis)

September 28, 2022 — The Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

More than 100 hundred guests gathered at FDU’s Florham Campus on Friday, September 23, for a night of festivities, including refreshments, live music, giveaways and appearances by special guests.

A man at a podium addresses a crowd of guests.

Bruce Peabody, director of the FILL program, delivers remarks. (Photo: Brian Lewis)

“Half a century later, the FILL program stands tall and proud. We have an amazing group of learners who value the life of the mind and all that flows from it: community, intergenerational learning, and the peculiar pleasure of simultaneously mastering an idea while recognizing that the business of learning is never complete,” says Bruce Peabody, professor of government and politics and director of the FILL program. “In sharing their stories, their insights, and their enthusiasm for education, FILL is a central part of the FDU mission and culture.”

Two women chat and share an embrace.

Guests greet one another at the anniversary event. (Photo: Brian Lewis)

Established in 1972 by Joseph Tramutola, Jr., the late 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 62 and older can audit courses, enroll for credit and work toward a degree, or opt to take FILL classes, taught by lifelong learners and retirees. The FILL classes, which do not count for credit, provide intellectual stimulation just for fun.

The program’s mission statement, reads, in part, “FILL seeks to enrich the intellectual lives of traditional and non-traditional aged students through intergenerational collaboration, learning, and teaching.”

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