October 2010

Lifelong Learning Of Hilton Head Island

Author: Courtney Hampson



Lifelong Learning of Hilton Head Island, Inc. (LLHHI) provides the venue for just that—a learning institute (one of three hundred like it in the country) offering adults the opportunity to continue broadening their horizons and their brain power.

According to LLHHI’s community liaison Elisabeth Nantz, Life Long Learning of Hilton Head is a community of like-minded men and women who have a broad range of lifetime experiences to share and a desire to learn what others know. Members are passionate about living life to the fullest. “Curiosity and learning never cease,” she said.

LLHHI offers peer-organized, peer-led and peer-taught courses on every imaginable topic from Civil War history to Southern gardening, medical ethics to space exploration, and literature to architecture and art. A volunteer curriculum committee (in fact, the organization is completely volunteer run) of some 20 members designs a balanced curriculum of courses, finds qualified instructors from both within and beyond the membership, and publishes a catalogue of the offerings from which members choose.

Different courses are presented each term (fall, winter and spring), and there are no prerequisites for enrollment. Generally, classes are scheduled for two hours a week, for a term of four to six weeks. A typical term might offer 20 to 24 courses from which members may select as many or a few that fit their schedule.

Bound by a commitment to provide affordable, superior learning opportunities to the community, a nominal annual membership fee of $30 gets you in the loop. And, tuition charges between $35-$45, depending on the term, get you in the classroom.

LLHHI also collaborates with and provides financial assistance to other non-profit organizations whose constituents may benefit from the educational opportunities offered.


Nantz says, “We believe the quest for knowledge is not bound by age, but is enhanced through life experiences and the sharing of ideas.”

As such, a number of thought-provoking topics are explored.

According to Nantz, one of their most popular classes is Current Events. This class meets weekly and is chaired by two people of different political persuasions. The discussion is always spirited and lively. Nantz says, “Whatever is happening in the news is fair game for discussion from both sides of the aisle, and you always leave the session feeling that you’ve been given another way to think about things.”

This fall, LLHHI will offer a Perspectives on Homosexuality course. This class, led by retired psychiatrist Dr. Rick Anderson and Dr. Mike Walsh, executive director of Mental Health America/Beaufort & Jasper and assistant professor at USC School of Medicine, will focus on the historical, social, cultural, and political aspects of homosexuality. The duo will foster open discussion regarding etiology and attempts at “treatment,” the stigma associated with homosexuality, and cultural differences (yes, the U.S. is considered to be behind in our way of thinking when compared to other developed countries). The course will also tackle the gay marriage debate, and participants will be encouraged to ask questions and bring their own experiences to the table through panel discussions. Bravo!

The bottom line is this: LLHHI is certainly forward-thinking, and their course offerings will open your mind and make you ponder.

Need further proof? Also this fall, tune in for The Truth about Foreign Aid (ripe for political debate), Women in Espionage (just in case that lady who lives next door has always struck you as suspicious), and What is Your Personality (are you really the easy going guy that you think you are?).

Interested in learning more? Visit lifelonglearninghhi.org for the full course catalogue and details on how to join.

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