Academy for Learning in Retirement



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The Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) is a volunteer-run organization whose purpose is to provide meaningful presentations on diverse topics of interest to members of the community.  ALR is affiliated with, but not funded by, New Mexico State University (NMSU) through Doña Ana Community College.  The programs are presented by NMSU faculty and other experts who are deeply knowledgeable in their fields.

Each month of the academic year, ALR normally offers four presentations on a topic, which are presented by one or more speakers.  Occasionally a series has fewer than four presentations. Four topics are offered in the fall semester from September through December, and five topics in the spring semester from January through May.  Each semester the topics are eclectic, and may broadly include the sciences, arts, humanities, history, national and international affairs, economics, and other topics.

In order to pay an honorarium to the speakers, advertise the programs, and cover other expenses, ALR charges a nominal fee to attend the presentations.

For a number of years, ALR offered live presentations at the Good Samaritan Village auditorium.  During the Covid-19 pandemic and the loss of our ability to meet in groups, ALR broadcast its presentations using Zoom.  We will return in Spring 2024 to offering live presentations.  They will be given at the Dona Aña Community College – East Mesa auditorium, and we will also show these presentations on Zoom.

The Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) was initiated in 1992 by Dr. Virginia Higbie, Dean of the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University (NMSU), together with Dr. Thomas Gale, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at NMSU, and other deans, retired NMSU President Gerald Thomas, and community leader Clarence Fielder.  Dean Gale was chair of the first ALR Advisory Committee in 1993. The founding visionaries understood the need for a resource for the community at large to pursue stimulating inquiry into diverse topics of interest.

Almost thirty years and over one thousand presentations later, NMSU, DACC, and ALR continue to provide information to help lifelong learners better understand the world in which they live. Some examples of the topics covered have been: The History of New Mexico, Geography of China, Current Broadway Musicals, The Border Economy, Women and Jazz, How Human Skin Ages, Southwest and Border Literature, and Weather and Climate.

Until the spring of 2020, programs were held at Good Samaritan Village's auditorium. In addition to the formal presentations, gatherings of participants stimulated lively interactions, and frequently expanded upon the value of the presentations.

The Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) is an organization independent of New Mexico State University (NMSU) yet affiliated with NMSU through the Doña Ana Community College.

The Advisory Board of ALR consists of up to twenty-five volunteer members.  New members are selected by current Board members.  The Advisory Board operates under a set of By-Laws which outlines a simple set of operating guidelines.  The Advisory Board meets monthly except for the summer months and is led by two people who hold the office of co-chair.  Other officers include a Secretary, Treasurer, and several Committees each with a Chairperson.  Committees are organized to:  design, print and distribute brochures; maintain and care for ALR’s archives; plan, investigate, and organize each series of presentations including arranging for speakers; market the ALR  to make more community members aware of our work; and more.  Advisory Board members are generally retirees who have enjoyed attending ALR presentations and are willing to work to keep this resource available to our community, and we have active community members as well.