History of the Marist Center for Lifetime Study


On February 12, 1992, Marist College issued a press release announcing the establishment of a peer-lead education program for individuals 55 years old and older.  The Marist Center for Lifetime Study or CLS was established by the late Jonah Sherman and his wife Joan in honor of Jonah’s Aunt Rose Sherman to provide intellectual opportunities, cultural exploration and academic development to local seniors.  The Shermans’ commitment to enriching the lives of others led Jonah to serve on the Marist College Board of Trustees, as well as leadership positions in several local nonprofit organizations and led Joan to serve with other voluntary organizations.  Together, they worked with Catharine Street Community Center where they began their volunteer lives locally. 

In 2007, Jonah made a special contribution to the Marist Archives and Special Collections in the James A. Cannavino Library with a donation of materials documenting the business and commercial history of Poughkeepsie.  The collection is filled with rare artifacts, books, newspapers, photographs, correspondence, advertisements, and other materials; making the Jonah Sherman Collection an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to learn more about the economic growth and business development of our community. Jonah and Joan Sherman were sent to Central Europe, Asia, and Africa over a period of 13 years with International Executive Services Corps, United Jewish World Service or United Way International, to help work toward economic self-sufficiency in small communities, on education and prevention of HIV/AIDS and on the development of volunteerism.  Jonah and Joan Sherman have given Marist a unique legacy of service and leadership.

 joan and jonah sherman


In March of 1992, the Marist Center for Lifetime Study was launched, with a series of four to six week noncredit courses.  The Center, a gift from the estate of Rose Sherman, is strongly ingrained with a sense of leadership and academic purpose.  Rose Sherman moved to Poughkeepsie in the 1980’s to be cared for by her family.  Jonah, sensitive to the need for challenging intellectual pursuits for senior citizens, worked to establish the Marist College Center for Lifetime Study as a loving tribute to his Aunt Rose after her death . 

CLS boasts a membership of more than 600 members, an administrative board of elected members, and volunteer facilitators from the community who design course outlines, as well as facilitate group discussions.  Inaugural courses for CLS were: “New Perspectives on Greater Poughkeepsie’s Past”, “Nobel Prize Winners in Literature”, “Landmark Decisions of the Supreme Court", and "The Comic Mind: Comedy and Movies”.  CLS courses are currently held at Locust Grove the Samuel Morse Historic Site.