Meadow Ridge University Celebrates a Decade of Lifelong Learning

2021 – 2022 Academic Year to Feature an Expanded Set of Virtual & In-Person College Classes
June '21

Redding, CT – Meadow Ridge, a Benchmark continuing care retirement community (CCRC), today announced the 10th anniversary of its signature lifelong learning program, Meadow Ridge University, which features semester-long college-level courses in history, art history, philosophy and psychology. To celebrate its success over the last decade, the program will feature an expanded set of virtual and in-person classes starting this fall.

“Our residents come from diverse backgrounds, and many have made important contributions to their fields or communities,” said Chris Barstein, executive director of Meadow Ridge. “We believe that continuing to nurture our residents’ thirst for knowledge and having the opportunity to share their rich experiences with others is incredibly important. This program is just one of the many ways we help our residents stay connected to their interests and goals.”

To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, in the fall, a virtual, 4-week course to commemorate the anniversary of white suffrage in the U.S. was successfully piloted for the first time. In the spring, an additional course over Zoom was added.

“Taking classes online was new to many of us, but it went amazingly well. Enrollment increased, and we had very few issues with the technology,” said Dr. Judy Hamer, a Meadow Ridge resident who facilitates the program. Hamer is a retired college professor who taught at NYU, Columbia University and the City University of New York. Hamer’s late husband, Bill Buckley, also taught at Fairfield University and was a documentary filmmaker.

The courses offered in the fall included Armies of the Uprooted and Disinherited. The class covered the uprising of men in times of historical turmoil, starting with the German models of Freikorps and Hitler’s SA to current extremist groups. In Art of Yesteryear and Day, artists from earlier centuries and different areas were compared to illustrate how they often react to similar human themes. All classes are taught by a local university or college professor.

Drawing on the success of the 2020 – 2021 school year, Hamer looks forward to offering three virtual and in-person classes starting in September. “Some people prefer in-person learning while others prefer to learn virtually in the comfort of their apartments. We’d like to accommodate both learning preferences,” said Hamer.

The program was founded in 2011 by late Meadow Ridge resident Lea Mintz. Since it began, approximately 30 different courses have been taken by 750 residents.

Meadow Ridge University is just one of approximately 70 different on-site educational and wellness programs offered each week on the 136-acre campus. Lectures, entertainment, social hours, gardening, games, golf and more are offered each day.


About Meadow Ridge

Managed by Benchmark Senior Living, Meadow Ridge in Redding, Conn., is one of Connecticut’s most comprehensive continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) with 136 acres and 415 apartment homes offering independent living, assisted living and award-winning skilled nursing and rehabilitation. The community’s new Mind & Memory Care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is expected to open in 2022. For more information, visit

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