Local Donor Helps Establish New Program at New College Institute

New College Institute is honored to announce a new initiative, LIFE — Learning Is ForEver, made possible by the generous donation of Martinsville resident Barbara Matthews. The goal of the LIFE program is to create engaging learning opportunities for adults of all ages, particularly those above fifty.

Barbara Matthews gives to others from the heart and truly believes that “learning is forever.” She also believes in the power of people and wants her home community to have access to higher education opportunities so it will become the best it can be. The mission and vision of LIFE represent the spirit of her gift. The generosity of Barbara Matthews is made in honor of Dr. Leanna Blevins, Executive Director of New College Institute.

Within that same spirit of giving, the LIFE program is also made possible through the support of volunteers. All instructors, speakers, and partners are volunteering their time and expertise because they agree lifelong learning is vital to our community.

“Everyone at New College Institute is excited at how Barbara’s generosity has created so many additional opportunities to share educational programs for our community. We are honored that she chose NCI to carry out this worthwhile effort. We will create learning opportunities that make her proud,” said Dr. Leanna Blevins, Executive Director of New College Institute, who added, “I am personally humbled and grateful for her gift and for her friendship. Barbara is a quiet person who doesn’t seek attention, but she has made such a difference to so many.”

More than 50 opportunities have been established for the inaugural year of LIFE in the areas of arts and culture, healthy living, local and human history, community engagement, senior living, and science and technology. With classes ranging from Tai Chi, Glass Painting, Creative Writing, Estate Planning, Henry County Troops in the War, and Insects and Society; there truly is a learning experience for everyone over the course of the year.

All LIFE events and classes are free to attend thanks to the generous contribution of Matthews. NCI’s LIFE program provides non-credit opportunities for individuals to engage in intellectual and cultural experiences to enrich their lives and have opportunities to come together with others for social experiences that are centered around learning.

“One of the best investments we can make in ourselves is to commit to learning something new each and every day. LIFE is a unique, non-traditional opportunity to learn from regional experts, engage in discussions with each other, and celebrate the abundance of learning opportunities available in Martinsville and Henry County,” said Melany Stowe, Assistant Director of Academics and Communications.

Classes will be delivered in a variety of formats including hands-on, behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, interactive lectures, networking, do-it-yourself projects, panel discussions, information fairs, and Q & A opportunities. With the exception of the behind-the-scenes tours at Hamlet Vineyards and the Virginia Museum of Natural History, all classes will be offered at New College Institute located at the Building on Baldwin.