Introducing ILR

Who we are

The Institute for Learning in Retirement is an educational member organization planned and operated by and for individuals 55 years of age and older. There are over 300 such college-sponsored institutes and centers in the U. S. and we are one of the largest in Virginia. Sponsored by Tidewater Community College, our ILR began in 1993 with 15 interested members and it now has well over 900 active members.

Institute for Learning in Retirement, a Road Scholar Institute Network affiliate, conducts educational programs for its members. Programs include classes, field trips to local educational resources, day trips to nearby points of interest, and overnight trips to more distant venues. Speakers include ILR members and local subject matter experts drawn from academia, industry, the military, and local cultural resources. Recent programs appear on the web site calendar and in the current quarter’s catalog.


The purpose of ILR from its bylaws is:

  1. To foster the interests of members in continuing education, as an outreach of our sponsoring educational institution
  2. To promote quality programs for its members.
  3. To provide opportunities for members with common interests to follow those interests.
  4. To encourage member participation in study, discussion, and social activities.”


ILR membership is open to all who have reached age 55 without regard to race, religion, national origin, gender, or gender expression. Most members are active retired adults interested in the Institute’s classes, social events, and travel programs.

The membership year begins on 1 June and ends on 31 May. Those who join in March, April, or May of the current membership year receive membership through May of the coming year.

The year is divided into quarters (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec) and programs are offered during each quarter. Members register for programs in the month before the quarter begins and renew their memberships during the June registration period.


All ILR programs are offered a la carte. During the quarter break, members receive the coming quarter’s program mailing and registration form. Members register for the classes and activities that interest them.

Programs are drawn from the arts, social issues, science and technology, history and world affairs, health-related subjects, Great Decisions, and the Great Books.

Members become as actively involved as they wish — sharing knowledge and participating in dialogues and seminars. Some participate primarily in classes while others elect a mix of classes, social activities, and field trips.

Why should you join the ILR?

Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise to maintain good health. We have the ability to learn throughout our lifetime. The ILR provides a relaxed, and congenial environment that facilitates this learning. We offer continuing intellectual stimulation, physical activities, new friendships, and social opportunities.

What does it cost?

ILR members pay an annual membership fee of $20. ILR’s classes cost $14 per two hour session. ILR offers field trips at cost.

Other Benefits of Membership

  • Fellowship with over 900 members.
  • Entertainment and recreation opportunities
  • Sharing of life experiences
  • The stimulation of an academic environment
  • Small group and large group classes and activities

What we do

ILR members attend

  • ILR produced classes
  • Local day trips
  • Bus day trips
  • Bus overnight trips
  • Cultural events
  • Social gatherings

Our Classes

Our classes are usually two hour lectures about topics of interest to the members. Each calendar quarter, ILR offers 20 to 25 different classes planned by our Curriculum Committee. Area college and university faculty teach many of our classes but area experts and our members deliver others. Classes meet Monday through Thursday in either the morning (10-12) or afternoon (1-3).

Social Activities

Socializing is an important aspect of ILR. Field trips, luncheons, and trips to museums and other places of interest are offered.

Community Service

Each holiday season, ILR members volunteer to assist the Salvation Army with its Toys for Tots and holiday gift programs.