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Syosset Retiree Back In College

Syosset resident Burt Ettinger is an active member of Hofstra University’s Personal Enrichment In Retirement (PEIR) Program. The retired pharmacist now enjoys his newly discovered hobby of reading short stories to his classmates, and attending lectures those classmates conduct.   

Ettinger joined the program when his close friend sparked his interest in the variety of lectures offered there. After attending as a visitor, he enrolled in the college as a PEIR student. Now, he attends college as senior citizen, and he researches and reads his favorite stories in a college classroom.

“I tremendously appreciate the kind of intelligence, and the variety of topics in these classrooms," he says. "I get extreme pleasure hearing someone who is over the hill giving lectures. All of these members are astoundingly knowledgeable and professional.”

And Ettinger enjoys doing homework assignments the second time around.

“I went to college when I was much younger," he says. "Now, I love conducting lectures on stories that fascinate me."

Ettinger spends hours putting those lectures together and says he thoroughly enjoys it.

“There are no grades, but I get graded by my peers," he says. "They say my lectures are wonderful, so those are my grades.”

The former pharmacist and store owner of Ettinger’s Pharmacy in Garden City explained that his change to a short story researcher and reader was not that big of a leap.

“I’ve always loved being in front of people," says Ettinger. "I used to communicate with customers and build relationships. With these presentations, I can do what I love. It’s a continuation of what I used to do.”

PEIR members come from diverse backgrounds and professions, and they lecture about subjects that interest them; however, learning goes beyond the classroom for the members. They communicate and discuss the lectures of the past and the future. Peers become friends with each other as students, and they exchange knowledge and information.  

“It is not just a coming to school type of situation, it is an overall experience," explains Ettinger. "We are all here to learn, and we are going to keep on learning.”

The PEIR program is for retirees ages 55 and older. To schedule a visit, call Bradley Kaye at 516-463-4824 or visit www.hofstra.edu/academics/ce/lifelonglearning/peir.