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Hilbert aims to create ‘Thriving in Place’ program for seniors in the Southtowns


HAMBURG — Hilbert College has set a bold vision to create a one-of-a-kind living and learning community for seniors in our area by establishing a “Thriving in Place” program behind the leadership of Hilbert’s provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Maureen Finney.

The primary goals of the college’s “Thriving in Place” initiative are to improve the health and wellness of the senior population in our community; expand our curricular offerings to meet societal and workforce demands; establish inter-generational opportunities for seniors and our students towards the creation of a modified University-Based Retirement Community (UBRC); and identify and establish community partners that can strengthen our vision.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be spearheading this project for Hilbert,” Finney said. “Considering the current senior living communities in direct proximity to our campus and the planned development on the property adjacent to our campus, we have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact for seniors and for our students. There are many examples of successful UBRC programs across the country, but this would be the first of its kind in Western New York.”

A steering committee has been established to lead Hilbert to the stated goals.

Steering committee members

  • Dr. Michael Brophy, president, Hilbert College
  • Dr. Maureen Finney, provost & vice president for Academic Affairs, Hilbert College
  • Kathleen Christy, vice president for Institutional Advancement
  • Dr. Camille Wicher, retired vice president Therapeutics Services and Corporate Ethics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Hilbert board of trustees)
  • Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO, People Inc. (Hilbert board of trustees)
  • Jill Meyer, Human Resources Manager, Baillie Lumber Company (Hilbert board of trustees)
  • Dr. Anthony Billittier, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Independent Health (Hilbert board of trustees)

There are two main areas that need concerted attention to continue to move this project forward: Program Development and Community Outreach.

As a college-wide initiative, the following campus members have stepped up to assist in these areas:

  • Dr. Caitlin Szalkowski: assistant professor of Psychology: Program Development
  • Amanda Steffan: director of Graduate Admissions and Student Services: Program Development
  • Grace Adams: coordinator for Residence Life: Community Outreach
  • Bridget Conti: adjunct, Graduate Studies – master’s in Public Health Administration: Program Development
  • Colleen Kumiega: associate professor of Human Services: Community Outreach
  • Sharon Sisti: associate professor of Human Services: Program Development