About Senior Scholars at Queens
Founded in 1973, Senior Scholars is a volunteer-run organization for individuals, 50 years and older. Members and guests meet weekly, during the academic year (September through May, except December), to hear prominent speakers on a variety of interesting topics. Other programs occur though out the year and can be found under Events.
In Charlotte, “Senior Scholars” are known for their vitality, love of learning and desire to give back to their community. This is an organization that offers welcoming fellowship and wonderful opportunities to broaden members intellectual perspective and improve their understanding of international, national, and local issues and subjects of interest. The organization is run 100% by volunteers, a great way for retirees to keep their skill sets fresh, learn new ones and stay engaged with the community.
The views expressed by presenters at Senior Scholars meetings or functions are not necessarily those of Senior Scholars nor its Board of Directors.
Our History: Senior Scholars at Queens from 1972-2023
In December 1972, a group of like-minded individuals met to launch an educational program for seniors and retirees. With the cooperation and support of AARP, the Charlotte Senior Forum (an organization of retired executives), University of North Carolina Charlotte, Queens College(now University), Davidson College, and Johnson C. Smith University, a format was developed.
On July 5th 1973, an historic meeting was set up launching the tradition of weekly meetings spent in learning and fellowship. An advisory committee was formed and the first successful programs were held in the Stultz Building at what was then Queens College (now Queens University). Eleven institutes of higher learning were solicited to provide weekly speakers during the academic year.
In need of more room, Senior Scholars moved its meetings from Queens University to Myers Park Baptist Church in 1976. The first social event was held November 30, 1976 in Shalom Hall at the church. Social events continue today with holiday and spring luncheons, lunch gatherings and field trips.
The popular Great Decisions series was first held in the Myers Park Baptist Church and Dilworth United Methodist Church in 1976. The series provides information and discussion on critical global issues facing America today with the help of speakers primarily drawn from area colleges and universities.
The first Wildacres Retreat took place 1980 at a conference center in the North Carolina mountains. This annual event offers members educational programs, meals and opportunities for social interaction in a relaxed and beautiful setting.
As the organization grew, new locations were needed to accommodate larger audiences. In 2010, Senior Scholars began meeting at the Queens University Sports Complex (about 300 capacity). But growth continued and in 2018, the organization moved to larger facilities at Providence United Methodist Church (500 capacity).
In the spring of 2020, the pandemic caused Senior Scholars to suspend in-person meetings. Volunteers led the pivot to a virtual organization beginning with board meetings. The Technology Team invested in meeting skills and services to offer virtual speaker programs via Zoom beginning September 2020.
In-person meetings with limited attendance resumed in spring 2022, and a return to full capacity occurred later in the fall. Virtual programs continue to be available for members preferring to view from home or unable to attend in person. Membership in 2022 reached about 850.
During 2022 Senior Scholars expanded its reach into new areas by creating a Group Zoom Membership type . Two adult living facilities procured licenses to provide weekly meetings for their residents via Zoom. In November, a joint in-person meeting was held with a senior group at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church to hear a presentation on the historic McCrorey Heights neighborhood.
2023 is Senior Scholars’ 50th anniversary year. Special programs and events are planned to include a celebratory luncheon in the spring. Watch for announcments and opportunities to get engaged.