Exterior of Maxwell Hall on WSU Main Campus.

Senior University

Senior University at WSU is a peer-led set of short courses taught by retirees and topic experts to provide intellectual and cultural stimulation and growth.

WSU offers today’s accomplished adults with opportunities for lifelong learning and leadership, combined with the fellowship of peers sharing a common quest for continued growth.

Senior University courses are open to everyone and are meant to “encourage lifelong learning for retirees in the community.”

You're welcome to join these classes whether or not you've had college opportunities.

Each non-credit course is about four to five weeks long with no tests, papers, or homework. The classes are currently $40 each.

Registration is required and subject to space availability. Early registration is recommended.

Spring/Summer 2023 Classes

Explore the upcoming Spring and Summer 2023 courses (PDF) for Senior University below and register for classes online today!

The U.S. Supreme Court & the Constitution Today

Instructor: Matt Bosworth 
Day: Friday

Time: 2:30-4:30pm

Sessions: January 27, 
February 3, 10, 17
Course Fee: 
Room: Maxwell Hall 259 

The U.S. Supreme Court has certainly made a lot of news recently; its last term dealing with issues such as abortion, gun control, and religion was arguably its most consequential in decades 

This course will examine the current term of the Court beginning on October 2022. in which the Court will be examining issues of affirmative action, LGBTQ rights and religion, and election law, among other topics. 

Enrollees will gain a greater understanding of the legal and political forces that will likely shape the court's resolution of the controversies before them.

About Matt Bosworth 

Matthew H. Bosworth, Professor of Political Science, came to Winona State in 1997. Originally hailing from Stillwater, OK, he gradated with a B. A. from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD in 1991.

He then received an M.A. (1992) and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997.

Most of his courses at WSU examine the intersection between law and politics, including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Judicial Process and Politics, Constitutional Politics, and the First Amendment. 

Is an Electric Vehicle For Me?

Instructor: Tom Ezdon 
Time: 2:30-4:00pm

February 1, 8, 15, 22
Course Fee: 
Room: Maxwell Hall 259

You may have quite a few questions about electric vehicles, but where can you turn for answers? What is real versus myth, spread by fear of the unknown? This course consists of four lectures and discussions aimed at providing participants with the benefit of seven years of real-life experiences and information resources. Armed with such knowledge, each participate will be better able to asses for themselves whether electric vehicles should be in their future or not. 

About Tom Ezdon 

Tom Ezdon is a retired Fish Management Consultant to the banking industry, specializing in information security, social engineering and risk assessment software. He has learned about electric cars through ownership since 2015.

As an early adopter of full battery electric vehicle technology, he has been involved with local, regional and state organization to further advance the understanding of this technology. He has also worked to encourage the further development of charging infrastructure and education with local business and city government. 

Through his personal experience of owning three different electric cars, numerous cross country electric car trips and earning a spot as one of Tesla's Full Self Driving software beta testers, Tom will help answer the question many are pondering - Is an electric car for me? 

Mississippi River History

Instructor: Greg Schmidt 
Day: Tuesday

Time: 2-3:30pm 

Sessions: March 14, 21,  28, April 4, 11, 18

Course Fee: 
Room: Maxwell Hall 287 

This course reflects Dr. Schmidt's interests in environmental and cultural history. In addition to treatment of the technological history (steamboats, wing dams, levees, the nine-foot channel) and environmental history (resource exploitation, floods, invasive species) the course also touches on the visual arts (George C Bingham), literature ( Mark Twain, William Wells Brown) and especially music (Stephen Foster, Daniel Emmet, Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Chicago Blues, Rock and Roll). 

About Greg Schmidt 

Dr. Gregory Schmidt (Ph.D. History, University of Illinois, 1980) taught a general education course in the History of the Mississippi River for about 20 of his 34 years at WSU. It was his most popular course.

Getting it Done: Writing Your Memoir

Instructor: Kathleen Peterson
Day: Thursday

Time: 1-2:30pm 

Sessions: March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20 

Course Fee: 
Room: Maxwell 287 

Have you always wanted to write your life story for your own satisfaction - or for future generations but don't know where to begin? Perhaps you've started but are stuck or overwhelmed. When we want to craft a memoir, we must pull from our memories, or the memories of others in our lives, to create and shape that story. It is an excavation, and this class will provide the tools to achieve your goals!  

About Kathleen Peterson  

Kathleen Peterson is primarily a novelist and playwright whose focus is character and story flow. She will help you craft you narrative from your perspective using the writing techniques of fiction. 

Aging Well Through Physical Activity & Exercise

Instructor: Justin Geijer 
Day: Wednesday

Time: 1-2:30pm 

Sessions: March 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26

Course Fee:
Room: Maxwell Hall 287

Learning to challenge the aging process through lectures and discussions aimed to impress knowledge of the benefits of physical activity including confidence in movement, balance and fall prevention, bone and join health, perceived barriers to physical activity, and cardiovascular health. 

Additionally, Senior University students will be paired with WSU students from Health, Exercise, and Rehabilitative Sciences Department. Together, you will set activity goals for yourself and learn ways that physical activity can help you battle the challenged associated with the aging process. 

WSU students will guide you through new exercises for your home and/or fitness facility, specially chosen for you and your individual needs. 

*a participation waiver form will be completed on the first day of class. 

About Julie Geijer 

Justin Geijer is a faculty member in the Health, Exercise, and Rehabilitative Sciences Department. He has great interest in use of physical activity as preventive medicine, and the impacts of physical activity across the lifespan. Justin earned his B.S from Northern Illinois University in Preventive and Rehabilitative Exercise Science, M.S.ed from Northern Illinois University in Exercise Physiology, and his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Minnesota. Additionally, he has over 16 years of experience as a certified personal trainer. 

Senior U Lite: Winona's History & Interesting Architecture

Instructor: Mark Peterson 
Day: Tuesday

Time: 1-2:30pm

Sessions: May 2, 9 

Course Fee: 
Room: May 2 class period will be held in Maxwell 259, May 9 class period will be a bus tour in Winona

This course will meet twice. the first class will focus on the history of Winona beginning with Native Americans, early settlement, logging industry, and the poetical climate up to the present. The second class period will be a bus tour of the belt environment focusing on the unique and historical architecture of the city. 

About Mark Peterson 

Mark Peterson was born in Mankato, MN. He graduated from Mankato State University with an undergraduate degrees in History and Geography and received his Masters in History from Portland State University, in Portland, Oregon. He was the Museum Director for the aurora Colony Historical Society in Aurora, Oregon, from 1978-1983. Mark was the Executive Director of the Winona County Historical Society from 1983 until his retirement in 2020. He was also Winona's Mayor from 2013 through 2020.

Senior U Lite: the Healing Forest: An Introduction to Nature & Forest Therapy

Instructor: Sara Holger 
Day: Monday 

Time: 1-2:30pm

Sessions: June 5, 12

Course Fee: Free - Suggested goodwill donation to " Friends of Whitewater State Park" 

Room: June 1 class period will be held on campus, June 8 class period will be held at Whitewater State Park

Come learn about the healing power of nature and how being outdoors can enhance your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. We'll explore the science beguine what happens in our bodies when we spend time outdoors and we'll practice some simple forest therapy activities you can do at home or in a nearby park  

    About Sara Holger 

    Sara Holger has been an environmental educator since 1994 and has worked as an Interpretive Naturalist for Minnesota States Parks since 1999. she is currently the Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park where she develops and leads programs, hikes, talks and field trips to introduce people to the outdoors. Since 2016, she has been invited in the Park Rx effort to promote outdoor activity for health and wellbeing. She a founding member of the SE Minnesota Park Rx initiative, empowering health care providers to prescribe time outdoors in nature. In 2021, she completed her Nature and Forest Therapy Guide certification. She has been guiding forces therapy walks throughout the region in an effort to share information about the transforming power of nature. She is a mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family, hiking agate hunting and kayaking.  

    Shakespeare in Performance

    Instructor: Jane Carducci 
    Day: Sunday 

    Time: Class will meet for 2 hours prior to performance and 1 hour afterwards 

    • Class will meet from 12:30-2:30pm
    • Performance at 3:00pm
    • Class will meet for 1-hour discussion after the performance
    Course Delivery: In-person on campus  
    Sessions: July 16, 23, 30 
    Course Fee: 
    $160 ($120 for center seats to three plays, $40 for the course fee) 

    This class is offered in conjunction with the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) during July, and will take a performance approach. to that end, GRSF actors and directors will meet with the class to discuss the plays; the instructor will list relevant films that are available to watch (optional) own reserve at WSU Library or via streaming. The plays should be read before class meetings, and students' full preparation beforehand will assure an active and productive classroom experience. 

      About Jane Carducci

      Jan Carducci earned her B.A in English from Colorado College. She couldn't decide what to do with this degree, so she too some time off and, on a lark, moved to Lake Tahoe. Much to her parents' dismay, she ended up dealing cards in northern Nevada for seven years. Realizing that this was a dead end, she retired to the University of Nevada, Reno and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English, specializing in the English Renaissance (specially Shakespeare) with minors in linguistics and poetry. She has taught various Shakespeare Classes at Winona State University for 29 years and published articles about Shakespeare in Shakespeare and Higher Education, Cahiers Elisabethains, Language and Literature, and Literature and Psychology. 

      Upcoming Courses

      Mark your calendars for the courses coming up this Spring and Summer.

       January 27, February 3, 10, 17: The U.S Supreme Court & the Constitution Today 

      February 1, 8, 15, 22: Is an Electric Vehicle for Me?

      March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18: Mississippi River History 

      March 16, 23, 20, April 6, 13, 20: Getting it Done: Writing Your Memoir 

      March 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26: Aging Well Through Physical Activity & Exercise

      May 2, 9: Senior U Lite: Winona's History & Interesting Architecture

      June 5, 12: Senior U Lite: The Healing Forest: An Introduction to Nature & Forest Therapy 

      July 16, 23, 30: Shakespeare in Performance