Lifelong Learning at the Next Level

Challenging yourself to learn something new is what the Splendido Intellectual Pursuits Program (SIPP) is all about.

Continuing to learn complex subjects may be the best thing you can do to improve your cognitive health—and research has shown that this is true for people of all ages.


Residents at Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Oro Valley for those 55 and better, have ample opportunities to learn new things. In addition to many classes and lectures offered by the community, they have set up their own internal “college,” in which any resident can attend a variety of high-level classes led by experts. Called SIPP, for the Splendido Intellectual Pursuits Program, the 15-year-old program is entirely planned and maintained by a committee of volunteers who live at Splendido.


A Wide Range of Topics

Held every fall and spring, SIPP features a variety of multi-session courses. A committee of resident volunteers spends months putting a term together, planning out approximately 10 multi-session courses per term.


Presenters include outside experts, such as local historians and grad students from the University of Arizona, but the bulk of SIPP presenters are Splendido residents, who offer a range of knowledge and willingness to learn and present new subjects.


Tom Hestwood, a resident who serves on the SIPP Committee, points out that the program offers residents the convenience of participating in classes you might find at a university, right on-site. “Not only can they explore their areas of interest, but they can learn about new topics—the courses can open new vistas for people,” he says.


Some courses are more challenging than others, but none are typically geared toward experts. “For example, you certainly don’t have to be an expert in art to understand and appreciate what the docents from the Tucson Museum of Art teach in their art appreciation course,” says Tom. Similarly, each semester typically includes a series of lectures on astronomy topics by graduate students from the University of Arizona Steward Observatory.


As you get older, you look for meaningful challenges, says Laila Corbin, co-chair of the SIPP committee. “These courses are good brain challenges; they give you something new and different to learn.”


Ongoing Interest

The most popular SIPP course every spring is Getting to Know You, comprised of eight sessions featuring in-depth half-hour interviews with a Splendido staff member and a resident, moderated by Laila. “Residents really enjoy learning about people, and we have some fascinating stories here,” she says.


Another popular series is Great Decisions, a video/discussion series on eight of the year’s most critical topics on world affairs, selected by the Foreign Policy Association. “That was excellent,” says Laila. “This spring, we hired a local presenter who added her own thoughts after each video. It was very well done.”


The committee is currently planning the fall 2022 semester, enlisting some new presenters along with the popular hands-on Billiards for Ladies and Gentlemen, a course taught by a former oil geologist, and a course on human migration. “It’s fun to plan the semester,” says Laila. “It’s so interesting to see what people like. We try to offer a wide variety of topics so there’s something for every taste.”


Splendido residents who attend—and plan—SIPP courses are reaping multiple benefits. In addition to boosting their brain health, they’re gaining cultural enrichment and engaging with others (also good for your brain!).






Splendido is offering an opportunity to learn something new. Join us for a hands-on class in Georgia O’Keeffe-style painting and learn what research says about aging well and creativity. The class will be led by our own Caroline Edasis, ATR-BC and graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

This event takes place on Wednesday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome, but reservations are required. RSVP before April 25.

To register, call Splendido at (520) 762.4084.

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