Lifelong Learning Institute


The Lifelong Learning Institute Announces its 2016 Spring Courses.

LLI is also now on Facebook! Find reminders about upcoming courses, photos from classes and additional information.


The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County provides stimulating and affordable short courses in many fields for active seniors. Courses are held in fall and spring, in addition to a lecture series in midwinter. There are no tests or grades — just the joy of learning. No previous studies or degrees are required.

LLI course brochures are available at the Greencroft Goshen Community Center (1820 Greencroft Blvd.) and the Goshen College Welcome Center (1700 S. Main St., 574-535-7566), as well as at other community locations.

Classes typically meet for one and a half hours, twice a week, for two weeks, though schedules may vary. LLI instructors are usually seniors themselves, often former teachers, professionals or others with special interests in the area of their course. They volunteer their time. The courses provide for lively discussion.  Courses are held at Goshen College, the Goshen Public Library, Greencroft Goshen and other suitable community locations.  Restrictions on class size may apply. Some courses may require extra fees for supplies, transportation or tickets.

Spring Courses

Julius Caesar
Ervin Beck
Feb. 29, Mar. 2, (3), 4; 9:30-11:00
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
Note: the Mar. 3 class is the evening dress rehearsal at Goshen College theater. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), we will study Julius Caesar, his classical tragedy, via selected texts, DVD scenes, and a full-length performance. The primary class sessions will be Feb. 29, March 2 and March 4 in Jennings Auditorium, 9:30-11 a.m. The third class session will involve our exclusive access to the evening dress rehearsal at the Umble Center. Beck is Professor Emeritus of English at Goshen College, where he regularly taught Shakespeare and other literature.

Water–Essential for Life
Ken Horst
Mar. 8, 10, 15, 17; 1:00-2:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
We will explore the role water plays in our lives: why water is essential to life itself, where it came from, and what essential role it plays in agriculture, weather, energy production, and industry. We will also look briefly at how water is used in various religions. Horst has taught a range of science classes throughout his career—from high school Earth Science and Astronomy to college Physics. His interest in water has been inspired by Edward Burtynsky’s artwork that features water, and by Pope Francis who has declared that safe drinkable water is a universal human right.

The Art and Practice of Jewish Spirituality
Jim Brenneman
Mar. 21, 23, 28, 30; 3:00-4:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
There is no better resource for Christian spirituality and practice than the Older Testament. Long before Christ and early church practices, the Hebrew Bible defined the essence of spirituality. Using this Biblical resource and its literary and mystical offspring in Judaism, we will explore the roots of the sacred in everyday life, the ways in which both divine presence and divine absence are expressions of the spirit, and the truth that life is meant to be lived in the here and now. Brenneman is both Professor of Old Testament and President of Goshen College.

Children’s Literature: Lessons for Life
Beth Berry
Apr. 4, 6, 11, 13; 10:00-11:30
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
The world of children’s literature is a rich treasure to explore, with thousands of wonderful books for toddlers through teens. Whether you relate to children as a grandparent or in a myriad of other relationships, you will still enjoy exploring books for the younger set. You may even be inspired to write your own story to share. Berry studied and taught Children’s Literature at Goshen College for many years, and may also invite another colleague to contribute to this discussion.

Spring Wildflowers
John and Joann Smith
Apr. 25, 27, May 2, 4; 1:00-4:00
Rieth Nature Center, Shanklin Park
Join wildflower enthusiasts in leisurely and educational wildflower walks. We will meet at Rieth Nature Center, 410 West Plymouth Avenue, for an introduction and short walk. Other sessions will also meet at Rieth to form carpools to other wildflower sites. Plan for walks of approximately 1½ hours, all at a leisurely pace and returning by 4:00 p.m. The Smiths have been identifying, photographing, and keeping inventories of native flowers in local parks and preserves for the last 15 years. John’s teaching career was in education at Goshen College, and Joann’s in French at West Noble High School. Please reserve both Fridays as “rain-dates.”

Hymns of the Western World and Beyond
Mary Oyer
May 9, 11, 16, 18; 1:00-2:30 (1:30-3:00 on May 11)
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
The poetry and music of hymns will be the emphasis of this class. They will be supported and enriched by examples of visual arts (painting, sculpture and architecture) that are related in historical period, style, or subject. Dr. Oyer is known for her work in hymnody throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in parts of Africa and Asia.

Theology, Economics, Law & Psychology
Victor Koop
May 25, 27, June 1, 3; 10:15-11:45
Jennings Auditorium, Greencroft Goshen Community Center
What should you know about each of these four disciplines? This key question will be addressed by a practitioner in each of these fields: Jo-Ann Brant, Delmar Good, Victor Koop, and Lisa Koop. They will also discuss how conventional wisdom sometimes misrepresents their disciplines. Class members are invited to help guide the discussion with their own questions about these fields. Koop practiced as a clinical psychologist prior to teaching at Goshen College for 27 years.

Membership & Fees

Who is eligible for membership? Persons 55 and older are welcome. You do not need to have attended college or to live at a retirement community. The LLI membership year runs from July 1 through June 30.

The benefits of membership: Your first course is free and additional courses are half price. For members residing in HUD housing all courses are free. Your LLI member card also entitles you to privileges at the Goshen College library and free admission to home Goshen College athletic events. With professor approval you may also audit approved classes at Goshen College for a reduced fee. At Greencroft Goshen, members receive the reduced resident rate for special events, and free transportation from Greencroft Goshen to LLI classes at other locations.


  • Membership is $50 per academic year (from July 1-June 30). A member’s first course is free and additional courses are half price.
  • For persons in HUD housing, membership is $10 and all courses are free. For non-member HUD residents, classes are $10. 
  • Most courses for non-members are $40.

Community Involvement

LLI is a member organization in which participants assist with curriculum planning and help to guide decisions on publicity and finance. There are 11 LLI board members.  Four are appointed by the sponsoring organizations, Goshen College (2) and Greencroft Communities (2). Four are elected by membership from members. Three are from the community-at-large and are elected by the board.

LLI is cosponsored by Goshen College and Greencroft Communities.

The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is part of a grassroots movement.  Retiring seniors everywhere are seeking stimulation, continued growth, and connections to others with similar interests. Our local LLI is a member of The Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN), a national network of similar programs.

Contact Us

If you have questions, want a course offering brochure, or need further information, please contact Directors Wilbur and Fanni Birky by phone at 574-533-6352 or by e-mail at