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Senior Auditing Program gets new home

With a recent move to the offi ce of Continuing Education and Outreach (CEO), Binghamton’s Senior Auditing Program could soon attract a larger number of older adults to the University’s classrooms. The state-mandated program, which allows New York State residents 60 years or older to audit any SUNY credit course for free, has operated on campus since 1974 under the auspices of Harpur College Advising.

The move is appropriate, given how the University has grown since the days when many people thought of it simply as Harpur College, said Donald Blake, associate dean of academic affairs at Harpur. “I’m glad it’s moved to Continuing Education and Outreach, because it’s a University-wide offi ce,” he said of the program.

Blake, who retires this July, launched the Senior Auditing Program and managed it for years within Harpur College’s Academic Advising Office.

Early on, the program drew 25-35 community residents each semester. They came to campus to pursue everything from history and foreign languages to studio art to physical education, and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“They were so appreciative, so excited to be thought of as ‘students.’” Blake said. Their participation was also a pleasure for instructors, who liked the fact that individuals with years of life experience sometimes brought first-hand knowledge of the course contents to class.

Enrollment has fallen off slightly in recent years. But once the program settles into its new home, CEO expects to get the word out to more potential auditors, said Roni O’Geen, an advisor in CEO, who now administers the program.

“We want to do some publicity into the community, after we recognize it on campus and thank Don for all of those years of shepherding the program,” O’Geen said.

 “It’s a nice way to bridge to the community,” she observed. “I think it’s neat to hear that people are wanting to keep their minds stimulated, and they

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Last Updated: 10/14/08