older woman auditing college class

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning at Kendal at Oberlin

Kendal at Oberlin is well-known for lifelong learning opportunities.

Since 1993, the community has embraced continuous learning and other Quaker values. Today, more than 25 years later, residents continue to enjoy learning new skills and crafts, acquiring knowledge from books and experiences, and much more.

Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music

Having Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music as a neighbor and friend is like hitting the jackpot when it comes to lifelong learning. Many residents enjoy taking classes, attending concerts and mentoring students.

College classes are open to Oberlin residents over the age of 65. They may attend classes free of charge. You only need permission from the class’ professor.

Residents can also take classes at Oberlin’s Experimental College, known as ExCo, or teach an ExCo course.

Another college offering that is popular with residents are the dozens of concerts, lectures and other events they can attend. The Conservatory of Music offers more than 500 performances throughout the year, many which are free.

The college also has four libraries (Main, Art, Science and Conservatory) open to residents with a valid Ohio public library card.

Resident David Dauphine said Kendal’s proximity to a renowned college like Oberlin was an important factor in selecting Kendal at Oberlin. “The idea of continual learning and intellectual stimulation are primary interests as we age,” he said. “And only a short bike ride away.”

“I’ve audited everything from Shakespeare to Constitutional Law and several art history courses. I really enjoy having my mind challenged and watching the bright and lively minds of the students at work,” resident Elizabeth Hole says.

Lifelong Learning Activities on Campus

A flip through the campus monthly newsletter, The Kendalight, will show you the many learning opportunities found on campus.

They include health and current event lectures, art classes, book clubs, fitness classes, and hands-on dance and musical gatherings. Have an interest and can’t find a class or group that addresses it? Residents are encouraged to form new groups and committees.

When resident Mary Van Nortwick moved to Kendal at Oberlin in 2017, she joined the floral creations committee. The committee is charged with making flower arrangements for three or more public areas using fresh and dried flowers. Residents work with a partner and the pair rotates every 10 days.  

“We learn from each other; it’s really fun. It’s like creating anything – it’s beautiful, gives me pleasure and helps me relax. And being on a committee you make new friends,” she says.


Volunteering is another way Kendal residents and staff reach out and learn. On an annual basis, they devote more than 40,000 hours of service to more than 80 nonprofit organizations in and around Lorain County.

Here are just a few examples of the opportunities Kendal residents have to volunteer on-campus and shape the lifestyle of their community.

  • KORA Council. The Kendal at Oberlin Residents Association (KORA), is the driving force behind many volunteer and service opportunities. In fact, one of the first opportunities to serve, available to all residents if elected, is the opportunity to serve on one of the KORA committees.
  • Buddy System. Encourages residents in cottages or apartments, who live alone, to choose a buddy so that they can check on each other. The goal is to ensure that every resident is checked on at least one time each day.
  • Supporting Friends. Help residents of Stephens Care Center and their families by offering companionship, aid and social interaction. 

Other learning opportunities exist in the form of serving the greater Oberlin area. Volunteer opportunities not far from campus have included:

  • Places of worship in Oberlin and Cleveland
  • Allen Memorial Hospital Information Center
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Oberlin Heritage Center
  • Oberlin City Schools
  • Interface Hospitality Network (IHN – a group that helps homeless families stay in churches and find jobs while searching for permanent homes and self-reliance)
  • Service on foundations that award scholarships to students and grants to organizations 
  • And lots more.

Are you ready to learn more?