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Observations at summer’s end

Claremont landed on another “best of” list earlier this summer. This time, we were named 15th on Huffington Post’s “College Towns: Consider These 16 Communities For Retirement.” Second-to-last isn’t like winning gold, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

The Huffington Post credits Professor Andrew Carle, director of the program in assisted living/senior housing administration at George Mason University, with devising a method for judging what he calls the “University-Based Retirement Community” model. According to Mr. Carle, successful retirement communities exhibit 5 key factors. They are:

1. Proximity to the colleges.

2. A formal program linking a retirement facility with its affiliated college is crucial. Mr. Carle describes the inverse situation, what he calls the “stranger on campus scenario,” where seniors are invited on campus, but the interaction between students and retirees is limited.

3. A documented financial relationship between the university and the senior housing provider should be well-established, thereby creating an investment beyond social events. This, he says, creates an incentive to interact.

4. A documented percentage of community residents with “real ties” to the college is another vital point. Mr. Carle believes former deans, professors and alumni should maintain involvement after retirement, adding “a sense of connectedness with the university” and community.

5. Retirees should look for a full continuum of independent and assisted living, so they don’t have to uproot themselves when they grow frailer and need more assistance.

Huffington Post, in its recommendation, states that Claremont offers extensive senior services including the Claremont Avenues for Lifelong Learning program, which allows residents aged 60 and over to audit classes at the Claremont Colleges for free. He goes on to note, “And that sunny California climate isn’t bad either.”

The top 10 lists online seem endless. The Princeton Review named the top 10 “College Towns Not So Great” in January of this year. Glad we didn’t make that list. Then there’s Playboy’s Top Party Schools, the 8 Least Sexually Healthy Colleges and the Best Colleges for “Bros” (Duke University holds top honors in this category. If you’re uncertain as to what constitutes a “bro,” please visit www.urbandictionary.com).

When you live here long enough, you learn to ignore the complications of living in a college town—pedestrians who don’t look before crossing, the Village rental next door with endless summer parties—and instead focus on the greater benefits of college-town life.

Like college-aged sons and daughters who come home for the summer—you sure do love them but it’s awfully nice when they head back, taking with them their laundry, late-night schedules and requests for cash.

The calm of a Claremont summer is refreshing, drawing even the most private of townies outdoors to enjoy an evening stroll. So as summer winds down, take a moment to relish the memory of short lines at Some Crust and that uninterrupted drive across Sixth Street because the kids are home. All 7000 of them.

—Kathryn Dunn, Managing Editor

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