The Graduate Center, CUNY Launches New Lifelong Learning Program With the Institute for Retired Professionals

May 19, 2020

The innovative program will join The Graduate Center as part of a new adult continuing education program.

The Institute for Retired Professionals (Credit: the Institute for Retired Professionals/Christina Itchon)
The Institute for Retired Professionals (Credit: the Institute for Retired Professionals/Christina Itchon)

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York is pleased to announce that the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP) will join its community as part of a new adult continuing education program under a new name, forthcoming. Founded at The New School in 1962 as an innovative peer learning program, the IRP has been a model for other lifelong learning programs in the U.S. and around the world since its inception.  
Demand for lifelong learning programs is growing as the baby boomer generation continues to reach retirement age. By adding this vibrant group of adults over 50 years of age to its student population, The Graduate Center will continue to serve New York's diverse residents. Central to this program are the peer-organized and peer-led study groups (akin to seminar courses) that range the intellectual spectrum including topics in history, literature, economics, social science, natural science, music, art, popular culture, and current issues. In addition to study groups, members lead and participate in a variety of social and volunteer endeavors, including voter registration, ELL/ESL conversation partners, reaching out to homebound seniors with virtual learning programs, and with public events such as the Fridays@One event series that invites guest speakers such as authors, documentary filmmakers, and museum curators.
With this new initiative, The Graduate Center will expand its offerings to reach a broader public including, nontraditional students, and will diversify its resources and build institutional resilience. Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Dean for Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation Brian A. Peterson said of the program, “With the social and intellectual contributions of this new constituency, we expand our impact, fostering and integrating communities of learning and research to advance our public mission.”
“The New School is extremely proud to have founded the IRP in 1962 and offer the first programming of its kind in the country,” said Amy Malsin, assistant vice president of communications and public affairs at The New School. “We are gratified to see the IRP evolve and expand its community of learners through a new partnership with our colleague institution, The Graduate Center, CUNY.”
Graduate Center faculty and leadership will collaborate with current members of the IRP to set a name and organizational details. The new program will kick off in late May for the first of its two summer sessions through remote study group meetings, with the highest participation rate for the summer since IRP’s inception. Applications are being accepted for membership in advance of the fall semester. Learn more at
About the Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation
The Graduate Center’s Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation’s mission is to optimize and advance innovative program development through catalyzing collaborative partnerships, leading detailed research, offering exceptional support services, and demonstrating best practices. New programming opportunities advance The Graduate Center’s public mission through strengthening collaboration and enhancing engagement across constituents including a broad range of students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors, and the public.
About The Graduate Center of The City University of New York
The Graduate Center, CUNY is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, initiatives, and the Advanced Science Research Center, The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.