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Brenau learning program turns 20
Fall registration for BULLI today
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BULLI Gainesville registration

What: Registration for the Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute’s fall semester program

When: 4-5:30 p.m. today

Where: Hosch Theatre, John S. Burd Center, 429 Academy St., Gainesville

How much: An annual membership fee of $130, plus $40 per class

More info: Contact 770-538-4705 or visit

A Brenau University-based program that encourages a lifelong passion for learning is turning 20 this year.

The Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute has been offering continuing education to around 2,000 members over the years.

The idea originally came from a 1970s program called Elderhostel, said BULLI Director Kathy Amos, which eventually developed into a program called Road Scholar.

“It was designed for older adults to go to colleges and universities anywhere in the country, and take classes for a week’s time,” Amos explained. “And from that, people started going back to their hometowns and saying, ‘Hey, we would like to do that same sort of thing, but have it locally.’”

Amos said Brenau had an Elderhostel program, which eventually developed into what the BULLI program is today.
Robin Terrell of Gainesville has been both a student and a teacher with the program for several years.

“I retired in 2007 and I was looking for some intellectual stimulation, if you’d like,” he said. “I looked at various programs and I saw there was one in Gainesville.”

At the time, Terrell and his wife were living in Flowery Branch.

“I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I was very agreeably surprised with the quality of the courses,” he said. “It was remarkable.”

“The way I phrase it is they are academically oriented continuing education classes,” Amos said.

Class topics range from yoga and photography to piano concertos and a historic look at the periodic table.

For this upcoming fall semester, Terrell is teaching a class titled “The World’s Hot Spots,” which will focus on “armed conflict in other parts of the world,” he said, including Northern Ireland, India, Pakistan and the Korean peninsula. “The thing that I can bring is an international orientation, because my wife and I have lived in many different countries all over the world.”

The courses require no homework or exams, and aren’t offered for college credit toward a degree. Attendees take them for the joy of learning.

Registration for the fall semester is today, beginning at 4 p.m. The meeting will be at the Hosch Theatre, in the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts. Registration is ongoing, Amos said, but this particular event allows prospective students to hear from the instructors themselves, as well as pay for their classes.

Official registration will end Wednesday. Prospective students may register by calling 770-538-4705 or visiting the BULLI offices at 406 Academy St. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Some BULLI courses also will be held in a satellite Braselton location. Registration for those courses will be Tuesday in the Police and Municipal Court Building’s courtroom, beginning at 6 p.m.

The fall term runs from Sept. 30 through Nov. 15. There is an annual membership of $130, and then each class is an additional $40.

There is no minimum or maximum age limit, but most of the classes take place in the afternoon hours. Amos said attendees can be a mixture of retired adults, people who work different hours or stay-at-home parents who can find time for a class.

Terrell said anyone interested should give the program a try.

“You get to know some interesting people,” he said. “The people who naturally gravitate toward courses like these are people who are naturally curious. They’ve done interesting things in their lives.”

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