Comox Valley ElderCollege marks 20 years of learning

Members of the public are invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Comox Valley ElderCollege at NIC.

The event will take place on Friday, Sept. 13 from 2-3 pm and will include speeches from past and current ElderCollege officials, as well as the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the foyer outside the Stan Hagen Theatre.

ElderCollege serves students aged 50 or more (55 or more in the Comox Valley). Members gain access to more than 140 courses and lectures annually, without the stress of grades or exams.

“This celebration marks more than just an anniversary,” said John Bowman, NIC president. “We’re recognizing the extraordinary, sustained effort by dedicated volunteers who have grown the Comox Valley ElderCollege membership to more than 1,000 students, ensuring the joy of education continues at all ages. They have created a legacy of lifelong learning that NIC is proud to be a part of.”

Comox Valley residents Betty Emery and Elizabeth Smith first pitched the concept of ElderCollege to NIC in 1999 as a vehicle for continued learning in the community. Then-NIC president Dr. Lou Dryden embraced the idea and pledged support in the form of registration assistance and classroom availability. ElderCollege has also expanded to NIC’s Campbell River and Port Alberni campus.

All NIC ElderColleges are volunteer-run and self-funded.

Comox Valley ElderCollege chair Michael Syer became an ElderCollege member in 2009 and has enjoyed Saturday lectures and participating in courses including photography, the Canadian constitution and more. He so enjoyed his early experience that he volunteered for the organization’s finance and administration committee, later becoming chair.

“ElderCollege gave me the opportunity to connect to my new community and was a highlight on many a dull winter morning,” said Syer. “We get this feedback from our students again and again. It connects classmates, lifts spirits and generally enriches people’s lives, no matter if they are an instructor, student or volunteer.”

Following speeches and unveiling of the plaque, there will be an opportunity for guests to mingle and enjoy refreshments.

All are welcome to attend. The event is free, however members of the public must register in advance by visiting

For more information on ElderCollege, visit

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