PRESS RELEASE: Ringling Colleges Welcomes Pierian Spring Academy

PRESS RELEASE: Ringling Colleges Welcomes Pierian Spring Academy

Ringling College School of Continuing Studies Welcomes Pierian Spring Academy

Merger official June 1, 2017

SARASOTA, FL—As announced a year ago, Pierian Spring Academy (PSA), a nonprofit lifelong learning institution in the region, has merged with Ringling College of Art and Design as of June 1, 2017. PSA will become an integral component of the College’s newly restructured continuing studies department, where it will be incorporated into an arm of the department called the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy (RCLLA).

“This is a relationship years in the making. This merger, along with our merger last year with the Lifelong Learning Academy, has sparked a major metamorphosis of the community education arm at Ringling,” explains Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design. “But the effects will be felt beyond our campus borders. From a lifelong learner perspective, this partnership will transform the process of finding and registering for courses in the area, as well as significantly increase and diversify the array of courses learners can choose from, whether those be art and design related or economics, literature, history, political science or French, among many others.”

These two mergers have inspired the College to take a deeper look at the structure and organization of its rapidly growing continuing studies department. Thus, the College is pleased to announce the formation of the Ringling College School of Continuing Studies (SCS) as an umbrella department housing all of the community education programs offered by Ringling College.

Under this new restructuring (as seen in the graphic at the end) are two tracks for non-degree seeking students: 1. Art & Design Studies and 2. General Studies & Enrichment. The Pierian Spring Academy will become part of RCLLA as a component of the General Studies & Enrichment track.

Janis Cohen, President of the PSA Board of Directors, remarks, “The members of the board of Pierian Spring Academy are excited about our merger into RCLLA.  It represents the next phase in the growth of lifelong learning opportunities in the Sarasota area and will ensure that interesting and stimulating academic level courses will continue to be available to our community.  We are particularly pleased that the program will soon be housed in a newly renovated building in a central location with accessible parking and other amenities.”

PSA has been offering high quality adult learning programs in Sarasota/Manatee counties for 19 years. The highly successful nonprofit had 1350 enrolled adult learners last year with nearly 70 seminar-style courses. PSA has offered higher education level adult learning courses taught by highly qualified retired academics or professionals with a specialization in a course area.

“Pierian Spring Academy and Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy share a common vision: to best serve the interests of the growing population of adult learners in the region, who embrace the joy of learning and choose to continue their education in a variety of subjects,” says Janna Overstreet, executive director of RCLLA. “This merger will enable both of our organizations to share resources, faculty, and expertise to more effectively cater to our community’s growing needs.”

This merger is a win-win for Ringling College School of Continuing Studies and Pierian Spring Academy as it will further each organization’s reach, aggregating resources, building a larger community of adult learners in the area, and offering the convenience of finding the organizations’ combined course listings and information in one place. Upon completion of the Ringling College Museum Campus, the SCS (including RCLLA and PSA) will be headquartered in the historic Sarasota High School building, alongside the Sarasota Museum of Art. However, courses will continue to take place at various locations throughout the Sarasota-Manatee region.

About Ringling College of Art and Design

For 85 years, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ten disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. 

About Pierian Spring Academy

Pierian Spring Academy was founded as a nonprofit lifelong learning institution in 1999.  PSA instructors are retired and active professors in numerous academic fields, along with orchestra and jazz musicians, ballet and theater professionals, art critics, scientists and nature lovers. This diverse group of experts organizes classes —four to six weeks long—to instruct, entertain and exercise the minds of people who seek intellectual challenge, fun, and a chance to interact with other lifelong learners in Sarasota/Manatee. PSA classes are not only about gathering facts, but also about delving into ideas and thinking anew about the arts, government, literature, medicine, science, nanotechnology, sports, film, history, nature, economics, and even spirituality or astronomy.

About Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy

Ringling Lifelong Learning Academy offers educational opportunities for adults to pursue new interests, expand intellectual horizons and enrich their lives. Courses cover a wide range of stimulating topics and are taught by scholars, retired faculty members, and professional practitioners. Courses are taught in an engaging, collaborative manner where learning results in the development of civic awareness, ongoing learning communities of peers and intellectual and cultural connections to our communities. As a private, not-for-profit, LLA has served the Sarasota- Manatee region for the past 18 years growing lifelong learning program offerings in number and variety as the demand for services has grown. The Academy is funded by donations and registration fees and led by an executive director and volunteer advisory board. Visit

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