EEE History

This summary was prepared by Sandi Lindberg for the 20th anniversary of EEE.

Snapshots of Elder Enrichment Education (EEE): Then and Now

During the first semester of EEE, in the fall of 1990, there was a field trip to Lessor’s Quarry, now owned by UVM. It rained that day. Also visiting the quarry that day was a bus full of school children from Johnson. While the school children remained on the bus and viewed the quarry from the windows, EEE people got out and explored the site. That is the kind of people we were and still are.

EEE Beginnings

Planning for what became EEE began in 1988 and 1989. The driving force behind EEE was Jim Jackson, the Director of Continuing Education at St. Michael’s College. The objective of the Elder Enrichment Institute was to foster, design, and implement opportunities for education and learning enrichment for people at or nearing retirement.

In 1988 and 1989 several meetings were held by people interested in forming an organization to fulfill that objective. An Open House was held in January 1989 and committees and temporary officers were appointed from among the attendees. In June of 1989 there was a luncheon at St. Michael’s College. The planning group consisted of Sylvia Smith, Bill and Jean Stone, Esther Urie, Jean Smith, Samuel N. Bogorad, Florence Saucier, Amy Spokes, and representatives from Burlington College, Community College of Vermont, UVM, Champlain College, Trinity College, St. Michael’s, and the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging.

This led to an affiliation with the Elderhostel Institute Network. A grant of $2,000 from the Vermont Council on the Humanities provided seed money to get the program started.

The inaugural meeting was Tuesday, May 15, 1990. The board and its committees were introduced, refreshments were served, and there were questions and feedback from the audience. There was a mailing list of 254 persons.

In 1990-91 the board consisted of Chair, Sylvia Smith; Vice Chair, Esther Urie; Treasurer, Glenn Bassett; Secretary, Ruth Waldman, and the following committee chairs: Membership, Dot Carpenter; Publicity, Charles Lotz; Curriculum, Lily Lisman; Arrangements, Glenn Bassett; liaisons with the College sponsors, Ethel and William Schuele. At that time there were 74 paid members.

There were 90 paid members the first semester. Dues were $40 a semester and $75 a year. The budget for 1990-91 was $2,900, which did not include speakers’ fees. There was no audiovisual equipment. The first courses were at the University of Vermont and were set up similar to college courses. The 1990 fall semester consisted of the following courses:

  • Kevin McKenna: A Culture in Transition, Perspectives on Today’s Soviet Union (6 lectures)
  • Jane Ambrose: Six Ages of Music (6 lectures)
  • Ethel Schuele: Geology with Field Trip to Lessor’s Quarry
  • Gordon Mills: Tour of Burlington Free Press, WCAX and WJOY

Programs in the winter of 1991 were a series on the Civil War, a sampler of Vermont arts, and two lectures on the Maritime Museum’s Philadelphia Project.

In the early years the meetings were on college campuses. The main difficulty was finding accessible space with adequate parking. Meetings were moved to the Community Lutheran Church and then to South Burlington Community Library in the spring of 1997. In the fall of 2000 EEE moved to the Faith United Methodist Church, its current home.

EEE Today (2016): Education and Enrichment for Everyone

The 2015-2016 working volunteer board includes President, Mary Rutherford; Vice President, Stephanie Miner; Treasurer, Betsy Davis, and Secretary, Betsy Gardner. Committee Chairpersons include Membership, Lois Bresee; Publicity, Rita and Adam Bortz; Technical Services, Gene Smith; Program, Beth Wood, and Special Events, Carrie Fenn.

As of fall 2015 there were 166 members and an operating budget of $24,000. Annual dues are $90 or $50 per semester. Admission for nonmembers remains $5 per lecture. We own a sound system and audiovisual equipment. Peter Williams provides technical services to assure that everyone can see and hear the programs. EEE continues to meet twice weekly at the Faith United Methodist Church in South Burlington.

The Special Events committee arranges for coffee hours on the first meeting of every month, the December luncheon, and day trips to interesting areas in Vermont and nearby New York State.

Recent programs have included series on Foreign Affairs, United States History, Vermont History, Vermont Issues, and the Arts. The spring 2016 program includes additional series on US Politics, Climate, and Education.

Historical information based on EEE archives and 2010 interview with William and Ethel Schuele. EEE Today updated by Mary Rutherford.

Enroll now to attend this semester’s live presentations and Q&A’s!