Claremont listed in Top Rank of Best Retirement Cities According to Huffington Post Article

The Claremont Colleges’ CALL program for Auditing Senior Citizens is a Contributing Factor

A recent Huffington Post article cited Claremont, Calif., as one of the top 16 U.S. cities in which to retire. The list also includes Boise, Idaho, Fort Collins, Colorado, Clemson, South Carolina, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Read more.)

In the story, Claremont is listed second with the remark that the ranking is due, in part, to Claremont’s extensive senior services, including the Claremont Avenues for Lifelong Learning (CALL) program, which allows 60+ residents to audit classes at all five Claremont Colleges for free.

“Retirees,” the story reports, “can take advantage of the public resources a university provides simply by moving into town, or take the next step by moving to facilities such as The Village at Penn State that combine a retirement community with all that a college campus has to offer.

“Today’s retirees and the baby boomer retirees want three things,” notes Professor Andrew Carle, director of the Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University. “They want active, they want intellectually stimulating, and they want intergenerational retirement environments. Well, I’ve just described a college campus.”

In 2011-12, CMC offered 25 different study courses, volunteered by its college instructors, to seniors who may be interested in sitting in. They span the spectrum from government and economics to religious studies, philosophy, even physics.

According to P. Edward Haley, CMC’s W.M. Keck Foundation Chair of International Strategic Studies, director of The Center for Human Rights Leadership, and a course instructor, the senior auditors are bright, curious, and well educated.

“They understand that learning is life-long, and they tell me that they have looked forward, for quite a while, to the chance to read and think again without the interruption of career or young children,” he says. “They are drawn to those fields and topics that they have either longed to revisit or tackle for the first time. In my classes, that means the current upheavals in the Middle East, the conflict with Iran over nuclear weapons, the war in Afghanistan, and the rise of China.”

Furthermore, Haley says that auditing seniors have a wealth of experience to contribute. “And,” he says, “they are respectful of the students and their priority in the classroom. Both of these qualities combine to provide a wonderful support and enrichment of what we are doing. I’ve watched senior auditors and students be drawn to each other during breaks at the Athenaeum, and after class, to talk about what we’ve just covered in the classroom.”

Haley cites his seminar, The U.S., Israel, and the Arabs, as a case in point.

“There are often senior auditors who have traveled widely in the region and have spent years following developments between Israel and the Arabs for personal reasons, or just because the peoples and region are so fascinating,” he says. “Everyone gains when they share their firsthand knowledge of what the souk in Damascus is like, or what Iranian women will say to an American traveler when the political police aren’t listening.”