LLI at Virginia Tech is excited to announce its continued partnership with AARP Virginia for Spring 2022. LLI at VT will provide four engaging lectures to AARP members nationwide. The collaboration with AARP showcases the quality of selected LLI lectures and educational programming to a much larger audience. Last fall, we benefitted by increased inquiries for LLI course and membership information from Virginians outside the NRV and far beyond.


At no additional cost, AARP members will be able to join via Zoom from the comfort of their homes by registering through the AARP Virtual Community Center.  Spring events include David Givens’ “…And Diverse Others,” The Archaeology of the Angela Site at Jamestown (2/25), West Side Story led by Dan Sherman (3/18), Keith Tomlinson’s tour of the stunning Florida ecosystem and landscapes with The Everglades and Beyond: Florida’s Natural Treasures (3/25), and a sneak preview of Virginia Tech’s visionary Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia – What is the Innovation Campus and Why is It Important? (4/8).


If you have a friend or relative who is an AARP member who hasn’t yet become a member of LLI at VT, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to the quality of programming available. Share our newsletter so they can link into some great LLI presentations this spring. We hope they will soon become full members of LLI at VT. We welcome the opportunity to contribute to high-quality educational programming for seniors around the country and glad to welcome new members from afar.


LLI members may also enjoy a huge variety of free online content at the AARP Virtual Community Center. You do not need to be an AARP member to participate, but you must register. Check it out, it’s free!




Thanks to the generosity of our members and supporters, the LLI Members Annual Fund campaign for Fall 2021 closes out with more than $26,000 in contributions. A new part-time Program Specialist will be hired this spring – a much needed addition to the CPE staff support we receive to manage our operations. We also raised $4,250 from 11 corporate sponsors, whose generosity we deeply appreciate. The volunteer leadership team is touched and grateful for this outpouring of support to ensure the on-going vitality of LLI at VT. Thank you all!





This month, we celebrate Carolyn Rude as February’s featured volunteer. From the very beginning of LLI, Carolyn has worn numerous hats in support of LLI and its mission of lifelong learning. This includes membership in the program committee, course development and instruction, and currently – as the creator of the beautifully designed course catalogs you receive each term.


Although Carolyn retired as professor emerita of English in the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, much of her career was at Texas Tech. However, in 2003 she made the move to Blacksburg, and spent her time in the English Department as research faculty, director of graduate studies, and department chair. 

Now that she has retired, Carolyn has traded in her role as a professor to one as a student. When asked about her thoughts on LLI, Carolyn noted, “I love LLI. It’s such a treat. Such a gift to the retirement community.” She also added, that she felt like a college sophomore again, taking interesting courses with excellent people in the classes with shared interests. “I love what LLI has provided the retirement community, and I just have to restrain myself from signing up for more courses than I can possibly manage.”  


Carolyn's interest in learning extends beyond LLI as she has begun piano lessons. Among the creative aspects she enjoys most is learning the literature and techniques – the skill of playing musically and not just playing notes. Her interest in piano and LLI courses merged recently when reflecting on her favorite LLI courses. She considers Richard Gilbert’s encouraging and inspiring memoir and nonfiction writing course among the most impactful, as it was a great opportunity for her to translate the musical notes of the piano into a short essay and piano lesson.


When thinking about how retirement is often viewed by others, Carolyn balks at the perception of retirement spent in a rocking chair on the front porch. Instead she views retirement as empowerment, not impairment. In doing so, she believes self-care, being physically active and mentally engaged, and finding time for relaxation and playfulness are excellent strategies for maintaining momentum in the silver years.


Among numerous other activities, Carolyn has most recently been involved as president of the League of Women Voters and AARP newsletter editor. Like so many of us, Carolyn looks forward to putting COVID behind her and returning to the Moss Arts Center as a season ticket holder, to enjoy world-class music, theater, and dance performances. Additionally, she looks forward to being able to return to hands-on engagement with community projects which allow her the opportunity to continue to make a significant, meaningful impact on others. Thank you, Carolyn, for all your selfless contributions to LLI and your community!


book shelf


Additional sections of the popular field trips and Apple eBooks training have been opened and will be available for registration by Feb. 11, 5:00 p.m. Please note the new times and/or days for the added sections. If you want to add one of these to your schedule, go to Register, enter your username and password to log into your account, select Register or Join Wait List for Another Course or Special Event. You may also contact the registrar at 540-231-4364.


In honor of Black History month and the 100th anniversary of women students at Virginia Tech, Newman Library welcomes the Military Women's Memorial special traveling exhibition.  Sponsored by Virginia Humanities in 


partnership with the Military Women's Memorial and Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, this immersive, self guided exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of military women of color, their timeless contributions in American history, and their selfless courage in leading the way for all women to serve in the U.S. military.


The exhibit is on display February 10 - 28 and is located on the Newman Library's 4th floor across from the Corps of Cadets museum area.




The month of February is a great reminder to keep your heart healthy! A recent CDC study found that nearly 67% of older adults are sedentary at least 8.5 hours each day. Make February the month that you prove these statistics wrong! Experts suggest regular exercise for seniors can reduce pain and related symptoms of arthritis, lower risk of heart disease, help regulate diabetic blood glucose by maintaining a healthy weight, as well as reduced risks for cancer, hypertension, depression, and dementia – just to name a few.


Thanks to technology, there are numerous online resources which provide workout programs targeted specifically to seniors right from the comfort of your computer or tablet. Below are a few to get you moving in the right direction. A happy heart is a healthy heart!

  • AARP offers more than 80 free workouts and fitness inspired videos for all fitness and mobility levels. With most workout segments running 10 minutes or less, participants can create their own custom workout program, or simply complete a brief guided morning stretch. Offerings include focused activities such as core, upper, and lower body strength, balance and energy, and beginner yoga. Visit site.
  • Grow Young Fitness offers chair fitness workouts targeted at individuals with chronic pain, limited mobility, or other issues that impact exercise ability. Although the website offers a few demo workouts, access to the full library of more that 250 workout videos is by membership starting from $30 per month to a discounted annual plan $179 per year ($14.91/month). From time to time, Grow Young offers discounted options and bonuses for new members. Check out their website for current introductory promotions. Visit site.
  • Be Healthy Enough provides a broad selection of on-demand exercise videos designed for 50+ within the comfort of your home. Programs include strength training, cardio, pilates, and restore and relaxation videos. They currently offer a 7 day free trial, with basic plans starting at $14.99 per month. Visit site.

As always, be sure to check with your healthcare provider for guidance before starting any new exercise program.





All participants enrolled for indoor, in-person classes and events are expected to be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, and masked during class. Please help us keep all LLI members safe for in-person gatherings. We are closely monitoring guidance from the CDC, state, and university for safe indoor gathering as the conditions evolve.



Are you interested in taking an online LLI course by Zoom videoconference, but not sure how to get started? We have a great series of easy to follow tutorial instructions that will guide you through software and hardware requirements, audio and video connection checks before class, and guidance on how to join a Zoom class. Theres also information on viewing by your iPad! For instructions on how to get you "zooming" into LLI, visit our Zoom Instructions for Members. If you have any other questions about being Zoom ready, feel free to reach out to Heidi Dickens at heidi1@vt.edu or 540-231-4364.


Spring course registration is now open and early registration is very strong. Several courses have already reached enrollment capacity at this early point. If a course you are interested in is full, please feel free to request being added to the waitlist. If there are cancellations or additional seat openings, you will be among the first to be notified.  Also, it helps with planning for the next offering term to ensure we have enough seats to meet demand.



A membership is required to participate in all paid courses and free seminars, as well as field trips and special events, and must be renewed each term. For more information on renewing or activating a new LLI membership, visit our Membership Information page for details.



LLI members are invited to submit articles, announcements, photos, or other items that may be of interest to the community.  Submissions must be received by the 15th of the month for consideration in the next month's newsletter.  For more information or to submit an item: Newsletter Editor, Cris Thompson, Ph.D. Student / Graduate Assistant, Virginia Tech Office of Outreach and International Affairs, cristhomp89@vt.edu.  Please limit to 300 words.



Many thanks to our corporate sponsors for their generous support of the Lifelong Learning Institute.