July 11, 2018

$13,000 grant from Council of Independent Colleges will fund programs linking college students with older adults

Hackettstown, N.J., July 11, 2018—The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has awarded a $13,000 grant to Centenary University to fund intergenerational programs that link college students with older adults in the community. Centenary was selected for the grant from a pool of more than 65 applicants, according to Richard Ekman, CIC president. Titled “Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults,” the grant is funded with support from the AARP Foundation.

The new initiative is the second phase of Centenary’s S.M.A.R.T. (Students and Mentors Achieving Results Together) program promoting intergenerational interactions and learning opportunities. The first phase established a mentorship program at Hatchery Hill Elementary School in Hackettstown. It aligns with the University’s Strategic Design Process, which seeks to achieve six high-level results positioning Centenary to respond to today’s fast-paced global marketplace. The CIC grant advances one of those results: strengthen institutional and student-focused partnerships between Centenary and external organizations.

The intergenerational partnership project, which will begin during the 2018-2019 academic year, expands Centenary’s relationship with older adults in the area. Under the direction of presidential spouse and university ambassador Lisa Baldwin, the latest initiative will bring older adults to campus for college classes and send faculty, administrators and students to local elder communities for activities that address critical issues, including social isolation, nutrition and hunger, facing older adults.

Baldwin and Centenary University President David P. Haney visited a local elder community to gather ideas on the types of activities residents prefer. “Seniors want engaging conversations about politics and current events,” explained Baldwin, who expects the initiative to include several elder communities in the area, as well as older adults who are assisted in their own homes and in Hackettstown Medical Center. “They want to start book groups and have our faculty come and speak. They want to sit in on classes. Through this grant, we’re creating community partnerships that open up our campus and our University. It brings us all closer together.”

Through the grant, the University will pair students and faculty with elders on cooking, indoor and outdoor gardening projects, technology instruction, book discussion groups, a pet therapy program with horses at Centenary’s Equestrian Center and a program for elders to teach sewing skills to Centenary fashion majors, as well as other activities. Many of the University’s professors have already signed on to the program, and are excited to pair their students with seniors in Hackettstown and surrounding communities, Baldwin noted.

Haney hailed the grant’s potential to enrich the lives of older adults and Centenary students. “This grant will allow us to jump-start important student-focused intergenerational initiatives,” Haney said. “Learning is a lifelong process. Centenary University can be a rich resource for older adults to continue to stretch their intellect and explore new interests.”


With a strong commitment to the success of its students, Centenary University integrates a solid liberal arts foundation and a clear career focus to prepare students for an increasingly global marketplace. Approximately 83% of Centenary graduates are working in their field of choice within six months of commencement. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Long Valley. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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