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New Classes for Senior Learners to Begin in January

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Dr. Alberta “Bertie” Hanson has taken 25 classes at Grace College over the past six years.  Hanson is not a traditional college student, but a senior learner in Grace College’s Silver Scholars program.  She celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year and has no plans of slowing down.  While she works to complete her second book – an autobiography – she plans to take more classes through Silver Scholars in the new year.

Hanson received her undergraduate degree from BIOLA, a master’s degree from Grace Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Grace Graduate School in Long Beach, Calif.  After an impactful career in education – much of it spent across the globe teaching missionary children – Bertie moved back to Winona Lake in her eighties and began auditing classes through Silver Scholars.

“I’ve taken anthropology classes, business classes, missions classes, art classes, all kinds of classes,” says Hanson.  “I’ve loved learning more about Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.  The missions classes are really great and I love to sketch.”  Silver Scholars “fills in the cracks” of her knowledge, she says.

A variety of classes are offered through Silver Scholars each semester at Grace.  For a nominal $25 fee per course, adults age 55 and older can audit the class(es) of their choosing – meaning they attend class, participate in classroom discussion and do as much work outside of class as they wish.  There is no college credit earned through Silver Scholars.

“The best part about Silver Scholars is that you just sit back, listen and learn,” Hanson says.

Seniors with a love of learning like Bertie can register now for Silver Scholars classes beginning in January.  Sixteen different classes are being offered in the spring 2019 semester.

According to program coordinator Dr. Dennis Gaerte, retired professor of education at Grace College, “Silver Scholars is a great opportunity for mature adults to take advantage of Grace’s excellent teaching and enrich their lives, as well as the lives of traditional college students.”

This certainly rings true in Hanson’s life; she and former classmates from a sketching class communicate regularly and get together periodically to sketch together.  “I like to be with college students, and I love to learn,” Hanson says.

To view the complete list and description of Silver Scholars classes offered in the spring 2019 semester, visit  To register, call the Registrar’s Office at 574-372-5100, ext. 6414.  For more information, contact Dr. Dennis Gaerte at

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