LLI Spotlight:  Vickie Heffner, Executive Director, PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning, Colorado Springs, CO 

By Peter Spiers

The PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning, founded in 1998 under the auspices of Pikes Peak Community College and spun off a year later as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, prides itself on being the only independent Llifelong Learning Organization in the Pikes Peak region.  Four hundred members pay an annual membership fee of $65, entitling them to a $10 discount from the standard carte course cost of $30.  (For the insatiable learner, there’s a fee category called UCC—“Unlimited Classes and Courses”—at a cost of $250 per trimester.)  Membership is a healthy mix of highly educated people who take classes on subjects they didn’t study in college, and others who never went to college and who are making up for it in retirement.  The curriculum is focused primarily on liberal arts and the sciences, and many courses are taught by retired or current faculty members from Colorado College, the United States Air Force Academy, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College.  Colorado Technical University, with mostly evening classes for working people, provides classroom space for PILLAR during the day and classes are also taught in ten or twelve venues around Colorado Springs, including four retirement centers and three churches.  PILLAR produces over 300 classes and three catalogs each year.