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For the past several years I've used this space at the end of the year to sing the praises of CommUniversity, a program of adult education/enrichment classes offered at Davenport's St. Ambrose University on Sundays in February.

Yoga, literature, art, history, quilting — all kinds of topics and subjects were enthusiastically explored by hundreds of people, lighting a spark to what could be dreary winter days.

This year I'm back again, but for the last time.

As previously reported in the Times, CommUniversity is ending after 40 years.

Among the reasons are loss of a free venue in which to hold classes (St. Ambrose had provided space since the program's inception), the resignations of several key (totally volunteer) board members who tried unsuccessfully to recruit replacements and a drop in grants and donations to support the program.

Publication of the program's impending demise brought forth no saviors.

"Sadly no one did come forward and express an interest in trying to take over and save CommU," Katie Hanson, the Augustana professor who put together the program for 10 years, wrote in an email. "We didn't get any phone calls or emails. Whenever I spoke to someone at a meeting or at church, the person simply would express regret or say how many times they went to CommU, or a similar comment."

So, that's that.

A total of 29 classes will be offered in 2019, meeting 2-4 p.m. Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24. On Feb. 3 only, the keynote address will begin at 1 p.m. in the Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose, with Monica Smith, the new vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Augustana.

Class topics include: Shakespeare's "Macbeth," Paris Moderns (a tie-in with the Figge Art Museum's blockbuster exhibit), medical vaccines, caring for family heirlooms, beginning Spanish, acrylic painting, paper crafting, quilting and Rock Island in the 20 century.

Also, ancient Egypt, knitting and digital photography.

A complete course listing is available online at

If you are a past participant, you should have received a hard copy of the course listings in the mail. If not, send an email to or call 309-794-7259.

Tuition is $40; checks should be made payable to CommUniversity and sent to: CommUniversity Inc., c/o Augustana College, Education Department, 639 38th St., Rock Island, IL 61201.

Registration also may be made online.

CommUniversity was founded in 1979, modeled after similar programs in Minnesota and North Dakota, with a goal of providing learning and growth opportunities to the community at an affordable cost.

Classes are taught by local experts, including area college professors.

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