• President Schrum and Mary Kay Pierson from Senior University sign the new partnership agreement. (Photo by Carlos Barron)
    President Schrum and Mary Kay Pierson from Senior University sign the new partnership agreement. (Photo by Carlos Barron)

Southwestern University will become the new home for Georgetown’s Senior University program following the signing of an agreement between the two institutions Feb. 10.

Senior University, which is currently headquartered in Sun City, will move its administrative offices to the first floor of Southwestern’s new Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning, which will be opening in March.

The two organizations will remain independent, but will collaborate on programs of mutual interest. For example, Senior University may help publicize appropriate educational and cultural opportunities available at Southwestern to its members, and Southwestern may publicize Senior University offerings to its community mailing list.

Ron Swain, who serves as senior advisor to Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum, said if enough Senior University members show interest, Southwestern may make its Pirate Card, a local use debit card, available to them. Swain was instrumental in forging the new partnership.

Southwestern will also help Senior University update its information technology capabilities once it moves into the Prothro Center.

“It is an honor to be invited to the campus of Southwestern University which indicates their recognition of the quality of our lifelong-learning efforts,” said Senior University Board President Mary Kay Pierson.

The Senior University program was started in 1997 to provide affordable lifelong learning experiences to people 50 and over in the greater Georgetown community and to bond the Sun City retirement community with the rest of Georgetown.

Over the past 12 years, Senior University has become one of the most popular venues in the Georgetown area. Nearly 600 residents currently take advantage of program offerings, which include classes, trips, lectures and special events. Classes are offered during six-week sessions in the fall and spring, and a week-long summer session. Several Senior University classes are already offered at Southwestern, and some current and retired faculty members have taught in the program.

Pierson said she hopes moving the program’s headquarters to Southwestern will encourage seniors from other areas of Georgetown to participate. “Our one failing has been the inability to attract a larger number of members from the surrounding Georgetown areas,” she said. “Hopefully, this change of location will open our doors to more people who were under the impression that the organization was for Sun City residents only.”

Fostering better relations with residents of Georgetown, including those who live in Sun City, is among the goals included in Southwestern’s Strategic Plan for 2010. Promoting lifelong learning and a passion for intellectual and personal growth is also one of Southwestern’s five core values.

“This partnership creates the opportunity for Southwestern to extend its commitment to lifelong learning to a special segment of the Georgetown community,” said President Jake B. Schrum.

Kenny Holley, a 1971 Southwestern graduate who serves as chair for lifelong learning on Southwestern’s Alumni Council, added that Southwestern has more than 1,000 alumni in the Georgetown area who will embrace the opportunities Senior University provides.

For more information on Senior University, visit senioruniv.org/