Carl Johansen is participating in the CRI course, Tips and Tricks for Android Tablets. (Adam Worcester for the Herald Business Journal)

Carl Johansen is participating in the CRI course, Tips and Tricks for Android Tablets. (Adam Worcester for the Herald Business Journal)

For creative retirees, a wide range of college classes

A program at Edmonds Community College celebrates its 25th anniversary, and it’s bigger than ever.

LYNNWOOD — Like any good student, Bill Keppler looks forward to the fall semester at Edmonds Community College.

His next term will mark the 11th consecutive year the 81-year-old has taken classes at EdCC through the Creative Retirement Institute, a nonprofit lifelong learning program celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“I take three classes every term,” said Keppler, the former dean of arts and sciences at Boise State University. “I’m one of these guys who love to try something new. If I fail, I don’t give a damn.”

When fall registration opens Aug. 9, Keppler can choose from among 29 offerings, including “How Life Began and Evolved”, “Early 1800s American History,” “Lessons From a Sea Otter,” and “Inequality in a Capitalist Society.”

That’s a bounty compared to spring 1993, when EdCC leaders John Terrey and Pam LeMay launched CRI with 14 classes and 90 enrollments. Today the program has more than 100 volunteers, a salaried coordinator, and about 900 enrollments per term.

“It really is an incredible service,” said Sandra Hayes, a member of the CRI advisory board. “It shows there is something beyond Bingo out there for senior citizens.”

After paying $20 quarterly membership dues, CRI students may register for as many classes as they like. Tuition ranges from $11 to $44 per course. Registration qualifies students for use of the library, gym and other campus resources.

Each CRI course meets weekly, during the day, and typically lasts two hours. None runs longer than four sessions. There is no homework, no grades and no exams.

“The students are happy to be there. That’s the real difference,” said ex-University of Washington professor Sean Taylor, who will teach Shakespeare’s “Richard III” in the fall.

Taylor is beginning his 13th year as a CRI instructor. He has built a following of 18 students who have become good friends.

Most CRI classes are taught by former or current college professors. They propose topics that are vetted by a curriculum committee.

“We try not to do the ‘how to’ courses,” said Carol Crawford, the committee chair. “There are other venues for that.”

As much as the classes, CRI members say it’s the relationships that keep them re-enrolling.

“It really does become family,” Crawford said. “The majority of us are like-minded. We enjoy being with others who like to learn.”

“It’s people exploring ideas,” said Jerry Hollingsworth, chairman of the CRI Board. “Sometimes they’re different than the ones you came in with.”

CRI members will celebrate the program’s 25th anniversary with a summer social July 11 at Point Edwards Park. The agenda includes an historical slide show and speech by the new EdCC president.

Classes are held at EdCC, Edmonds Senior Center, Lynnwood Senior Center, Fairwinds Brighton Court and the new Homage Senior Services location in Lynnwood.

For more information, go to, or contact 425-640-1830,

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Trees and foliage grow at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
When you get lost in WA, what’s the cost to get rescued? Surprisingly little

Washington’s volunteer search and rescue teams save lives without costly bills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.