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PR # 163 February 21, 2008


A 1949 lunchtime conversation between journalist Edward R. Murrow, CBS CEO William Paley and Philadelphia advertising executive Ward Wheelock was the inspiration behind a new program at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC).

At the time, the three men discussed the idea of launching a radio show that encouraged people to share their personal philosophies. It was the dawn of ?McCarthyism,? when people were being discouraged from voicing their beliefs, fearing they would be accused of being ?un-American.? And so This I Believe , as the new program was called, began broadcasting on CBS Radio in 1951. The program, hosted by Murrow, aired until the mid-'50s?boasting 39 million listeners weekly. It also inspired two best-selling books in the U.S. that included contributions from such people as Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson and Albert Einstein.

More than 50 years later, Wheelock?s son, RVCC Adjunct Professor Keith Wheelock, is carrying on the vision of his father and associates in a new Lifetime Learning Institute program at the College. RVCC?s This I Believe (TIB) , a free series for adults 55 and older, is being held Wednesdays, April 2, 9, 16 and 23, from 3:15-4:30 p.m., at the College?s North Branch Campus. Wheelock will lead the program, which is being co-sponsored by RVCC?s Corporate & Continuing Education (CCE) division and the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education Department.

Participants will be encouraged to think about and write their own personal philosophies by exploring the guiding philosophies of others. This I Believe was also revived on the airwaves a few years ago and is now a regular feature of National Public Radio.

The RVCC series will start with Edward R. Murrow?s introduction to the 1950s? This I Believe CBS radio program. Participants will then discuss and listen to recordings of a variety of contemporary and past TIB essays, including:

* Eleanor Roosevelt: Growth that Starts from Thinking
* Isabel Allende: In Giving I Connect With Others
* Oscar Hammerstein: Happy Talk
* Elizabeth D. Earle: Have I Learned Anything Important Since I Was Sixteen?
* Debbie Hall: The Power of Presence
* Deirdre Sullivan: Always Go to the Funeral
* Amy Lyles Wilson: The Guts to Keep Going
* Audrey Briner: Since Every Day Could Be My Last

Montgomery resident Keith Wheelock has been involved with This I Believe ?which was created in memory of his mother?from the outset. In 1954, at the age of 20, he was the second youngest contributor to broadcast his TIB essay on CBS and have it published in newspapers. Despite its impressive success, the original This I Believe program was terminated in early 1955, soon after Ward Wheelock?s death.

After serving in careers as an author, Foreign Service Officer (Congo and Chile) and senior-level business executive, Keith Wheelock joined the RVCC faculty in 1992. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of history in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education. Wheelock has included This I Believe in his World Civilization I curriculum since 1992. Since that time more than 500 students have written their own personal TIB essays.

Wheelock was an enthusiastic supporter of efforts by NPR producer Dan Gediman to launch a modern-day This I Believe program and served on the National Public Radio/ TIB National Advisory Board. In conjunction with TIB management, Wheelock has developed and tested the TIB prototype program for seniors. He will be assisting TIB management in drafting a national TIB curriculum/workbook for seniors.

Those interested in taking part in RVCC?s This I Believe series are asked to register by March 17. Pre-registration is required. Space in the program is limited and participants will be taken on a first-come, first-reserved basis. To register, call 908-526-1200, ext. 8364 or e-mail ThisIBelieve@raritanval.edu .

RVCC?s This I Believe project is inspired by the public radio program, This I Believe , with support from RVCC?s Corporate & Continuing Education (CCE) division and the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences & Education.

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.

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