LIFE@WesternCarolina, Western Carolina University’s lifelong learning institute, will begin its spring semester schedule with a series of weekly educational sessions for Western North Carolina residents 50 and older who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge.

The institute offers sessions in both Cullowhee and Asheville that focus on a variety of topics including business, history, science, literature, politics and personal development.

“We are ecstatic to see our program continue to grow and develop as we begin the spring 2016 semester,” said Kay Wheeler, president of LIFE@WesternCarolina. “LIFE has evolved into a rich and rewarding experience for the community through Western Carolina University. LIFE is a truly unique program, a learning opportunity not found anywhere else in Western North Carolina counties.”

Participants may register to attend 12 weeks of sessions at one of the two sites. Sessions will be offered on Tuesdays beginning Jan. 12 in Cullowhee and on Wednesdays beginning Jan. 13 in Asheville. Cullowhee programs will be held in the ground-floor auditorium of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building, and Asheville programs will be presented at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, located at 28 Schenck Parkway. Sessions at both locations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until noon.

In addition to lectures, the institute will offer social opportunities and field trips as presenters share expertise from various backgrounds. Presenters include university faculty as well as professionals and community members from throughout the region.

The husband-and-wife duo of Larry and Elaine Conger will present the first week’s sessions on “The Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer.” Larry Conger is a former winner of the national mountain dulcimer championship in Winfield, Kansas, and has authored 14 dulcimer books. Elaine Conger is a professional music educator who formerly toured as pianist and backup vocalist with country music star Faith Hill.

Other presenters and topics for the spring semester will include “Dead or Alive: The Future of Newspapers” with Scott McLeod, publisher of the Smoky Mountain News; “The Global Economy” with Darrell Parker, dean of the WCU College of Business; “World War II” with David Dorondo, WCU’s Sossoman associate professor of history; and more. The full lineup of program topics and speakers is available online at

Cost of new membership for the spring semester is $75. Participants may attend all or as many sessions as they like.

For more information or to register for the LIFE@WesternCarolina institute, contact the Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397 or visit the website.