ILR celebrates 10 years of quality education in Saddlebrooke

The ILR Board of Directors

The ILR Board of Directors

The Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) is celebrating its tenth anniversary and has much to smile about. The ILR is an organization committed to bringing quality education to SaddleBrooke residents at affordable prices.

Our Founder: It started with Joel Waldstreicher (1934-2014), a Doctor of Optometry with an M.A. in Education. He was a Clinical Professor and Director of Continuing Education at SUNY. When Joel retired to SaddleBrooke he saw a need. He believed that continued learning and active intellectual pursuits were key ingredients to enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Learning something new, delving deeper into topics of interest and engaging in lively discussions were ways to energize and enthuse. So it was with fervor that he researched, discussed and finally formulated and chartered the Institute for Learning in Retirement in 2006. In the first term a slate of 12 classes were offered. Attendees were enthusiastic and the ILR was deemed a success. During the past 10 years, the ILR has offered over 300 courses and served over 1000 SaddleBrooke residents. Each year the ILR breaks new attendance records and continues to increase the number of course offerings. This year the Institute will offer over 30 classes!

How It Works: Two sessions of courses are offered every year, one in the fall and one in the winter/spring. The courses are designed to meet the needs of active retirees. They are held once a week for two hours and are usually five to six weeks in length. They are stress free with no papers to write and no exams to be taken. The belief is that learning can be fun. Individuals are encouraged to delve into new subject areas and take part in lively discussions. Over the last 10 years, the ILR has offered a wide variety of courses. Here is a small sample of the subjects that were taught: American History through Folk Music and Blues; The Anatomy of a Musical; Constitutional Dimensions of Free Speech; Churchill – The Man, Politician and Statesman; Famous Outlaws and Lawmen of Arizona; Advances in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Medicine; History of Western Medicine; History of Impressionism; The Louve and European Paintings; The Arab Spring – What and Why; The Joys of Astronomy; Earth’s Changing Climate; The World of Dinosaurs; Cosmology – Physics in the Sky; Buddhism: The Eight-Fold Path; Comparative Religions; Travel Photography; Early Cultures of Southern Arizona; History of the Supreme Court; Shakespeare’s Kings; Four Great American Poets; Chekhov – A Literary Genius; The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain.

How to Participate: Go to the ILR website at and there you can become a lifetime member for $25. Members can then register for as many classes as desired. Classes are only $15 per course! Members receive early notification via email of upcoming classes. If you have questions, email [email protected] or call 520-825-6568.

Instructors: The ILR is fortunate that SaddleBrooke has a wealth of expertise among its residents and many of these talented individuals are willing to share their knowledge and experiences. In fact, it is these top-notch instructors that are the secret to the ILR’s success.

Teach A Course: All of us living in SaddleBrooke have interesting backgrounds and a lifelong set of experiences. Why not share your knowledge with your community? Have you ever taught a course based on your expertise and talent? Would you like to teach a course? The ILR can offer you the opportunity to teach a course right here in SaddleBrooke. You don’t need a background in teaching, just the desire to share your knowledge with others. Your knowledge can be derived from your job, your avocation or your lifelong passion. All instructors are SaddleBrooke residents. To get started develop a course outline that provides a brief overview and topics to be covered in each weekly session. Also include a brief resume/CV summarizing your area of expertise. The ILR can provide teaching and course development mentoring by experienced instructors if desired by the prospective instructor. Submit your ideas to Mike Carran, the director of the Curriculum Development Committee, ([email protected]). You will get a response for your proposed course within a few weeks. For more information go to

The Future: The ILR Board members under the leadership of Dr. Byron Cotter are dedicated to the continuous improvement of the educational opportunities available to the community. As the Institute has grown, some changes in the organization’s structure have become necessary. The Board has added a curriculum development committee that is vital to the development of a tantalizing set of yearly courses with highly qualified instructors. The future looks bright for the ILR and promises to keep expanding quality education for SaddleBrooke residents.