Members have written letters of appreciation and testimonials. These speak movingly of the impact that IRPE, BLL's predecessor name, has had on their lives. Excerpts from some letters follow.
"I have been a member of IRPE for several years, attending classes, serving on committees, arranging an annual lecture series and giving a few lectures myself. This is the best 'school' that I have ever attended because the teachers are sharp, the students are even smarter than the teachers, and the atmosphere is one of warmth and friendship. There are no grades and no competing for grades or attention. We talk about books, history, ideas new and old and have a very good time." — Toby Sanchez
"When the time for my retirement approached, I was somewhat anxious. Fear of mental stagnation and social isolation were my concerns. Thanks to IRPE, however, I need not have worried. The variety of courses that are offered, as well as the people and instructors, have more than helped keep my mind alive in the company of others seeking answers." — Gloria Triffleman
"IRPE has been one of the intellectually stimulating ways of enhancing our 'quality of life' during our retirement. Classes led by outstanding professors and teachers have reintroduced us to classic literature and to award-winning modern authors. Lively and knowledgeable discussions in class give us new insights and add to the joy of reading. Though warmer climates or moving closer to our children sometimes lure us, we stay in Brooklyn. We don't wish to leave this great retirement community of which IRPE is such a central part." — Sylvia and Mort Newman
"When I retired nine years ago, I joined IRPE with the expectation of taking a course or two. I never dreamed that the organization would become such an important part of my life. Besides attending classes and lectures, I do yoga, never miss a chamber music performance, and serve on the executive board." — Harriet Sirof
"I cannot imagine life without this daily program of countless classes on various subjects given by volunteer educators. My attendance over the years has kept me mentally alert and socially active. I shudder to think of how drab life would have been had not Brooklyn College offered this program of continuous education. I feel I have grown in my old age and feel qualified to extol the value of this program. May it never ever end." — Lillian Alpert
"I have been attending IRPE's programs for many years. They are very interesting, informative and stimulating. As a retired teacher I look forward to forward to taking these classes daily. An added bonus to participation in IRPE is meeting wonderful people and making new friends." — Eve Blatt
"I miss a teacher who is no longer with us. What endeared him to me was his broad curiosity, his sense of humor, his interest in his pupils as human beings, his humanity. He opened up so many areas of learning to me from classical Greek thought to present day political theory. I shall never forget him." — Pearl Mann
"Harriet Sirof's Prize-winning Novels literature class surpasses all comparable courses I had in college. The class discussions are always provocative, stimulating and enlightening." — Phyllis Sperling
"Why is Prize-winning novels important to me? Well, how many things do we have in our lives to really look forward to that are reliably, predictably delightful? This class is all about discovery. We are all explorers amazed by new truths, creeping into dark crevices and finding the light. Our teacher Harriet is a national treasure." — Wilma Shiffman
"I met two wonderful lifelong friends at IRPE. Even though one moved away, we still correspond as if we were sisters. The first friend always helps me with my anniversary parties. I attended her husband's surprise 80th birthday party." — Tobby Rose Morgenstern
Those who teach IRPE classes are also deeply affected by the experience.
"My greatest satisfaction comes from teaching Prize-winning Novels. Our book discussion group is now in its 15th term, and most of the same people come back year after year. We have formed a community of peers, drawn together by our love of books and our interest in each other's ideas. Many of us have formed friendships within the group that carry over into the rest of our lives." — Harriet Sirof
"IRPE was the second home of my late husband, a former college professor. For about 14 years, it provided the happiest teaching experiences of his life. He was able to create new courses every semester without going through roadblocks. He would propose an idea for a new course, the Program Committee would approve it, and he was then busy at the library every day, preparing the course for his attentive students. This was, for him, total happiness." — Toby Sanchez
And a "thank you" received by Gene Reiser from one of his students
"For the years of music, in all its variety, beauty and delight, my thanks and appreciation — ongoing — for the aural and visual pleasure you added, for the interesting and illuminating introductions, for your generosity in sharing your erudition, selection, equipment and expertise, for you. You have my heartfelt thanks." — Paula Elkin