Life has hardly slowed down for Jerry Soble after starting his retired life 13 years ago.

Soble has always had an active mind. As a young man he attended the Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University) before ultimately opting to volunteer for the military, serving in the US Army. After discharge he began working in the insurance industry. Several years later, a friend presented him with an opportunity to move into the furniture business, where he worked for many years. Eventually, Soble decided to branch out on his own, purchasing Popkin Furniture in downtown Richmond, where he expanded his business for 41 years until his retirement.

He has since filled his time golfing with his sons and friends, playing cards, volunteering and auditing classes at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). His introduction to classes started with participation in VCU’s “Commonwealth Society”, which offered short courses and lectures.  One of his professors, recognizing Soble’s commitment to lifelong learning, encouraged him to audit classes at the University.

The Senior Citizen Higher Education Program at Virginia Commonwealth University is a free program that allows Virginia residents age 65 or older to sit in on university classes free of charge. While audited classes cannot count as credit for a degree, Soble still sees the value this program. He believes that keeping his brain active is important, and that an educated mind is able to carry on conversations without feeling left out.

While the education is clearly a valuable part of the program, Soble also says he benefits from being in the classroom environment. He enjoys classes with lively professors, and sometimes forms friendships with them outside the classroom. He also likes hearing from his younger classmates, most of whom have not lived through the history the class is studying.

Despite auditing more than 21 classes over the past 11 years, Soble doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He says he plans to continue as long as he is able to, and hopes to eventually take a class on Jewish history.

If you or a loved one is interested in auditing a class at VCU, you can click here or call (804) 828-1359 for more information.