Learning in Retirement (LIR)

The Learning in Retirement Program has gone virtual!

The Learning in Retirement Program began in 2000, continues to offer free courses for retirees from UC Berkeley, UC Office of the President and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and their guests. LIR offers courses in a variety of subject fields, including natural sciences, social sciences, the humanities and the arts. 

If you are interested in learning about the history of Learning in Retirement, download or view here.

Learning in Retirement Committee

The Learning in Retirement program would not exist without the dedication of the Learning in Retirement Committee. The committee is chaired by Professor Emeritus Donald Mastronarde, and includes Professors Emeriti Tom Laqueur,  Mary Power, and Carlo Sequin, as well as Bob Cahn, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


We are so very grateful for the generosity of Carol Ann Neisess D'Onofrio, Professor Emerita,School of Public Health whose bequest provides $100,000 in support to the Learning in Retirement program of the Retirement Center. Carol passed away on April 14, 2020.

Carol was Chair of the UCB Retirement Center Board from 2009-2011 and served as a member at large from 2006-08. She served on the Learning in Retirement Committee for many years, chairing the committee in 2017-2019.

In honor of Carol's generosity, service and dedication to the well being of retirees, we are announcing the Carol D'Onofrio, Learning in Retirement Public Health program in Spring 2021. Look for more details in the new year.

Cary Sweeney, Director UCBRC & Donald Mastronarde, Chair, Learning in Retirement Committee


The Learning in Retirement lecture on September 8th marked the final program organized by 
long-time LIR committee member Louise George Clubb. Louise is Emerita in the Departments of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, having retired in 1995 after a distinguished career in teaching, research, and service, not that her activity in these areas stopped in retirement. She is a specialist in Italian Renaissance theater and literary relations between Italy and England during the Renaissance, and she has published many articles and books in this area, her latest book appearing in 2010. Throughout retirement she has continued to spend significant time in Italy, researching and maintaining her ties with Italian scholars. Louise served as Chair of what was then called the Department of Italian and as Dean of Humanities. During her decade on the LIR committee, she has created 12 well-thought-out programs of multiple lectures on topics covering art, music, novels, religion, politics, and the Supreme Court. Her approach to organizing involved personal contact with the potential speakers for a series and the practice of bringing them together, if possible, for a meal at which they could get a sense of each other’s topics and the shape of the whole series. A year ago Louise was honored by the Retirement Center as Emerita of the Year, and it is privilege to salute her again in recognition of her contribution to the Learning in Retirement program.

This fall is also the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Learning in Retirement program, and it is only proper to note the retirement from the committee of one of the co-founders of the program, Donald A. Riley (but Al to his friends), Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology. Beside being a founding father and a committee member for two decades, Al served for some years as chair of the committee. He has been involved, as sole or joint organizer, in 15 programs, the most recent of which were the fascinating Fall 2018 series on the Origins and Nature of Language and the equally absorbing Fall 2019 series on Climate Change. Al’s wide-ranging curiosity has also been in evidence when, as one who attends lectures on all sorts of topics, he poses his questions in the discussion period. We look forward to seeing him in the audience for many more lectures to come and hearing his familiar voice often.

Donald Mastronarde, Chair, Learning in Retirement Committee

LIR Course Materials

Reference information and slide presentation from Learning in Retirement Programs are available in the LIR online resource library.