As the American population ages, lifelong learning, which comes in many forms, takes on more importance.

Many learn for sheer pleasure.

To others, lifelong learning can mean gaining skills to start a new career, or it can be learning a new or better way to do the job they have had for years.

Aside from the personal and career-oriented aspects of learning, research suggests that people with active and challenged minds might be able to lower their risk of memory problems as they age.

Lifelong learning also presents opportunities for older adults to have social contacts with people who have similar interests.

In Memphis, colleges and universities offer opportunities for lifelong learning, from degree programs to continuing education. An array of courses, including history, religion, philosophy and arts and sciences, is available. So are courses in motorcycle safety and computers.

There also are places other than universities and colleges to gain lifelong learning in Memphis.

Senior centers here offer courses on various subjects. Some of the subjects that have been offered are computers, photography, framing, writing and dance classes.

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Call your nearby center to see what is being offered.

The Memphis Public Library and Information Center is dedicated “to satisfying the customer’s need to know” and offers many learning programs, services and resources. They include special interest clubs emphasizing subjects such as photography and computers.

The library, which has 18 locations in the Memphis area, has a small business center and a LINC/211 referral service among the varied learning opportunities offered.


Colleges and universities here include:

The University of Memphis

Learners 60 and older can study topics at the U of M for free if they audit classes, are not taking them for credit and space is available.

Also subject to space availability, Tennessee residents 65 and older or permanently disabled can take courses for credit for tuition not to exceed $70. Limited additional fees are required for some courses.

The opportunity is also provided for older Tennessee residents and people who are permanently disabled at Southwest Tennessee Community College and other state colleges and universities.

Information on the U of M program for older Tennessee residents can be found at The Bursar’s Office at the university may be contacted at 901-678-5579.

Christian Brothers University

Christian Brothers University, founded in 1871, is one of six Lasallian universities across the country run by the Roman Catholic order, the Christian Brothers.

The CBU College of Adult and Professional Studies program has year-round evening classes offering undergraduate classes including psychology, business, and general professional studies.

Classes meet once a week or are offered online. Each program provides the same personalized attention, quality of faculty and convenience of schedules that CBU students expect and enjoy.

For more information visit

The Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning at Rhodes College

Rhodes College began offering adult education classes in 1944. In 1970, the program was christened the Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning in honor of Edward J. Meeman, who was the editor of the old Memphis Press-Scimitar.

Since its inception, the Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning has fulfilled Rhodes’ commitment to learning as a lifelong process by engaging adults from the Mid-South and beyond in liberal education. The Meeman Center promotes personal and professional development to individuals and businesses through programs, courses and trips distinguished by their academic excellence.

The Meeman Center offers continuing education classes that give students a chance to examine and discuss subjects from a liberal arts approach. Class topics are wide-ranging and have included literature, art, music, science, current events, history, religion, philosophy, meditation to name a few.

Rhodes faculty and invited experts, including Rhodes alumni are the instructors. Courses vary in length and run from September through November and again from January through May. These courses are non-credit, although professionals needing Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) may earn these on most of the classes offered.

Kim Bennett is director of college events. Her number is 843-3965.

Request a brochure by calling 843-3965.

Memphis College of Art

The Memphis College of Art, which offers adult classes, will close in May of 2020.

Adult classes will continue until the college closes in May after the last graduation.

Adult classes will be offered this summer and fall and the spring of 2020. Saturday School for students ages 5-17 offers sessions this fall and spring of 2020.

Located in award-winning Rust Hall in the center of Overton Park, Memphis College of Art continues to open doors for those creative individuals pursuing their passion. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at drawing sculpture, metalsmithing or painting, this is the place for you.

To learn more, visit call 901-272-5142.

Southwest Tennessee Community College

Southwest offers applied science degree programs in business, computer and engineering.

In addition, the college offers a variety of classes in the arts and sciences as well as continuing education classes ranging from motorcycle safety to leadership training.

Lifelong learning opportunities -- computer courses are especially popular with older adults -- are available for adult students. Visit Southwest’s Continuing Education brochure.

Adults can return to college or start fresh.

Visit Southwest at for more information.

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