Normandy University: A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Ron Jantz remarks that the cell phone has evolved from a simple communications device to a portal for information, an example of the importance of lifelong learning.

Ron Jantz remarks that the cell phone has evolved from a simple communications device to a portal for information, an example of the importance of lifelong learning.

Normandy University is a commitment to lifelong learning, a program offered by The Normandy Apartments in Rocky River. It celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.

How Was Normandy University Created?

Normandy University had its beginnings when resident Joe Kurkul offered to share with fellow residents a DVD series he purchased from The Great Courses entitled ‘Optimizing Brain Fitness.’ He brought his idea to The Normandy Activities Department. Normandy creative coordinators developed the idea further. The goal became to start a permanent educational activity at the Normandy consisting of different classes and speakers. It was decided to call the program Normandy University and it was presented to residents.

After hearing the idea, Normandy resident Grace Neumann grew the program by providing the Activities Department with her collection of presenters and ideas that she accumulated in her role as the president of her church group.

Normandy University further expanded upon meeting with its volunteer group, The Silver Foxes, who contributed even more ideas and class suggestions for the new university. Within weeks of Joe Kurkul’s offering, Normandy University was born.

Resident Ken Killen offered his expertise to begin presentations on ‘Moments in History.’ His broad and varied interests were substantial enough to fill up the entire original class schedule. The residents were elated with the various learning opportunities that were now available to all.

NormandyUIn one short year, over 50 presentations have been offered through Normandy University. Ranging from Great Courses offered through DVDs by leading professors worldwide, to ‘Did You Know,’ ‘Where in the World,’ ‘Moments in History’ and Art Class, a diversity of offerings keeps things lively.

Local presenters like Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst, who presented a mini State of the City address in May, to ‘Bees’ by Tim Roth, Lorain County Beekeeper, to ‘EXTRA – Cleveland Newspapers’ by John Vacha, the ongoing classes are richly diverse.

Two weeks ago, Avon Lake School Board member Ron Jantz, Digital Media Coordinator at Lorain County Community College, talked about lifelong learning and the state of education in America today. Asked about the soaring costs of traditional college expenses, Jantz suggested that young students today work to stay out of debt by minimizing college loans. Community Colleges offer the same content as 4-year universities for first and second year college students at a fraction of the cost. He also talked about the value of lifelong education, and adapting to new technologies like digital learning and communication while staying involved on interpersonal levels. Like many folks, the touch of a daily newspaper is still the best gateway to information and actual conversation a preferred option to texting.

So, thank you Joe Kurkul, Grace Neumann, Ken Killen, The Silver Foxes and the Activities Department at the Normandy for creating Normandy University – a new opportunity for lifelong learning.


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