College of the Third Age was founded in the mid-1970’s, by Augsburg College professors Mimi and Einar Johnson. The program was modeled after a similar program at the University of Toulouse in France. The concept, which holds true to today, was to provide college-level teaching and learning for and by older adults.
The program was fostered by professor Grier Nicholls who helped the program receive an initial grant from the Minnesota Humanities Commission. Tragically, he passed away from a heart attack a few days after the approval of the grant. The program was then headed by its first director, professor Vern Bloom.
Throughout its history, the program has been lead by several outstanding directors, including Mimi Johnson, Bettye Olson, Karen Lindesmith, and Suzanne Stenson-O’Brien. In 2008, the program leadership moved to the Augsburg for Adults program office, in order to foster closer ties with Augsburg’s adult degree programs.
Learn about our mission
Believing that learning is an ongoing, lifelong adventure, Augsburg College of the Third Age provides opportunities for older adults to expand their knowledge, thinking, and interests. These learning opportunities are facilitated by instructors educated in the liberal arts, theology, and social and physical sciences. Programs for groups are offered where mature learners reside or meet.
Living is all about learning! We hope that you will request one program or several from the programs offered.
Learn about our programs
Our programs are developed by and for the older adult, but all adults are welcome. Our mature students come from all levels of educational preparation. We welcome those who have decided to explore a new interest, as well as those who are simply open and curious about all subjects in the liberal arts, humanities, and social and physical sciences. Our programs are designed and offered so that all may share in the joy of learning. There are no papers, exams, or grades.
Classes for groups are offered anywhere adults live or meet. These may include high-rises, cooperative apartments, senior residences, churches and synagogues, assisted living homes, and community senior centers. The instructor will drive to your designated site. You need not experience registration, driving, or parking hassles!