Donna Ramer – Quest President

Over almost three decades, Quest has grown from a small group of enthusiastic lifelong-learning disciples to almost 250 retired and semi-retired people from around the tri-state area.

At the heart of Quest is our dedication to peer-to-peer learning, which means our members teach, lead and facilitate our classes and workshops, occasionally engaging outside guest speakers. Bob Hartmann, a co-founder of Quest, continues to be active because of the quality of classes because “we have such a wide choice, ranging from long-continuing subjects to new ones, and the variety and quality never cease to amaze me.”

But we also have a strong dedication to Quest as a community. Our after-class activities, lunchtime classes and discussion groups, local excursions during summer, winter and spring breaks, and our QuestCommunity google group that facilitates sharing among members — the offer of an extra theater ticket, an interesting article, or response to a query from a member seeking someone to hang shelves — keep members connected and building relationships.

After all these years, Bob is “so happy to continue to be in touch with five of my co-founders who still attend classes, whether in person or via Zoom. I also get great pleasure out of seeing our original membership of less than 100 expand to about 250 and I marvel at their contributions to our organization.”

As an all-volunteer organization, members also are involved in daily operations: close to one-third of our total membership is on at least one of our eighteen standing committees. For example:

  • Curriculum oversees all courses and lunchtime activities (a.k.a. Q’XTRA), and pitches in to help members develop courses and identify co-coordinators and presenters if needed.
  • Technology provides technical assistance for all Quest classes, and committee members work with course coordinators and presenters on their PowerPoint presentations and other technical issues.
  • While our Social Committee plans on-site get togethers, our Special Events committee arranges off-site holiday and year-end parties, and our Travel Committee facilitates domestic and international travel programs.

I truly am honored to follow in the footsteps of the many members who have guided the organization over the years. We know that it takes a village to create and maintain an engaging interdisciplinary peer-learning and social organization. And since 1995, that village has been Quest.