Campus News: Encore Goes Virtual

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Encore Goes Virtual
Merritt Jenkins - 10/7/2020

Lee Brings Encore Class to Students


On Friday, Oct. 2, Lee began livestreaming a class to Encore students in Legacy and Century Park Associates independent living communities. This is part of an endeavor to provide an opportunity for students to take a class who are unable to attend Lee in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The class, "Pandemic Playlist," is taught by Robert Bernhardt, artist in residence at Lee, and is streaming every Friday in October. Bernhardt explores different pieces of music from hundreds of years ago to recent movie scores, discussing the composer's motivations behind each score and how the effect of music can uplift and encourage listeners.


Before classes began, each student received a Lee student ID, which they use to get into a designated livestreaming room at their respective facility. Each facility has a class facilitator, who ensures the class runs properly and channels student questions through the Zoom chat.


"The COVID-19 pandemic has limited our residents' ability to connect with the outside world," said Esmerelda Lee, Century Park chief operating officer and executive vice president. "However, through strategic partnerships with university campuses like Lee University, our residents from communities in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida are able to connect with others while growing and learning together. Seeing our residents' eyes smiling behind their masks when they received their Lee University IDs embodies the spirit and the future of our company."


Bethany McCoy, Lee University's director of Community Relations, originally pitched the idea to bring Encore to the living facilities to Lee President Dr. Mark Walker and Vice President of University Relations Dr. Brad Moffett. According to McCoy, they started reaching out to facilities and the initiative grew from there.


"Things often go one of two ways with regard to COVID-19: we can either let it discourage us because things aren't the same, or we can reinvent our situation and find new ways to connect," said McCoy. "I think that's the purpose of the broadening of the Encore program. We want to get 'out of the box' and find new ways to connect with people in a changed world."


This semester, there are about 525 total Encore students, 300 of whom are online at one of 13 facilities across the country.


"We are thrilled to partner with Lee University and the Encore Program to offer our residents this virtual classroom setting," said Bryan Cook, president of Legacy Senior Living. "These unprecedented times have pressed us to find new and innovative programs to meet our residents' needs and enhance their quality of life emotionally, socially, and intellectually.  Lee's Encore Program meets that need and is helping us achieve this new way to connect one another, making a significant impact in the lives of the seniors we serve across the southeast."


For more information about Encore, visit

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