Keene State College was one of the original five schools to host Elderhostel at its founding back in the early 1970’s. After a long hiatus, Elderhostel returned to KSC in the early 1990’s when then-Dean of Arts and Humanities, Michael Haines, who had worked with Elderhostel in two other states since the mid-1970’s, re-introduced a Summer Elderhostel program. In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Haines was convinced by an old friend in the Boston Elderhostel headquarters to try a new program—the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), an Elderhostel-affiliated program offered largely by Elderhostel sites for longer terms for local area residents.

A handful of area Elderhostel veterans sat down with Dr. Haines around 1995 and planned the first ILR at Keene State. They called the fledgling program the Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning, or CALL. The first CALL courses—about four or five offerings--were taught by KSC faculty, largely from the Arts and Humanities. Before long, learned and experienced CALL members joined KSC faculty and others in expanding the offerings. In those early years, CALL membership ran to about 30-50 people from the Monadnock region. Eventually, the CALL program superseded all other Elderhostel offerings at the college.

The intent of the CALL program, from its inception, has been to offer high-quality, non-credit courses, mainly Liberal Arts courses, to older citizens of the Monadnock region and to offer these courses for two short terms (early Fall and later Spring) at a reasonable cost. From the beginning, CALL members have been actively engaged in suggesting or even creating the course offerings.

Currently, about 225 members take advantage of CALL classes each semester. Class topics range from Arts and Humanities offerings to cell biology, exercise, foreign policy, current events, and more!