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VISTAS Lifelong Learning, Inc., a nonprofit membership organization, provides adults in the Santa Barbara area opportunities for continued learning through in-depth study of art, cinema, history, literature, philosophy, science, public policy, and other areas of the humanities.

VISTAS seminars are for people who appreciate the relevance of our cultural heritage, like to think creatively, want to seek knowledge for its own sake, have the time to pursue these interests and enjoy meeting like-minded people.

VISTAS is a self-governing, peer-led discussion group and its members organize seminars, occasional lectures and social events. We are one of the very few unaffiliated groups in the country. 

And how did it come about?

In the winter of 1999, a group of Santa Barbarans learned of an excellent lifelong learning program (ILEAD) at Dartmouth College.  David Bisno, one of that program’s excellent instructors and leaders, and his wife Fay wintered in Santa Barbara and he offered to lead a class on the life of James Cook, an eighteenth-century English explorer and navy captain.  The first seminar was held at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.  The class was superb.  The enrollees were enthusiastic about Bisno’s suggestion that an adult-education program, similar to ILEAD, be established in Santa Barbara.  Unsuccessful efforts were made at that time to secure support for such a program from UCSB and Santa Barbara City College, so the group decided to establish an independent program.

In the autumn of 1999 and the early winter of 2000, an exploratory committee was formed headed by Alan Enelow, a retired psychiatry professor from USC and Michigan State University, to go forth with establishing an independent adult education program.  The course leaders would be drawn from the membership.

The final meeting of the Organizing Committee and the first meeting of the Board of Directors was July 19, 2000.  After some debate by the founders, the name, VISTAS Lifelong Learning, Inc., was chosen. 

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a 501 (c)(3) Not for Profit Corporation
VISTAS Lifelong Learning, Inc.
P.O. Box 23228
Santa Barbara, CA 93121