Our History -The IIRLR

The Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice (ICLIP), formerly the International Institute of Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR), was designated as an official UConn Center in April 2019.

IIRLR Founder John A Kunz

The International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR) had been operating as a program of the University of Wisconsin – Superior (UWS) Center for Continuing Education (CCE) since 1997. John Kunz, a program manager in the CCE, founded the Institute.  The goal of the Institute was to promote the field of reminiscence and life review. To this end, he organized the Institute as a membership organization with a voluntary Board of Directors elected from the membership every two years. In addition, he established and directed biennial conferences held in conjunction with the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Conferences. Sadly, Mr. Kunz passed away in 2011. At the time of his death, he endowed a fund to support the activities of the Institute. Despite his loss, the Institute has continued to function under the leadership of various Presidents and an Advisory Board with the strong support of the UWS-CCE. The Institute, with a membership of approximately 70 individuals from countries such as the US, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, China, Israel, Ireland, Japan, and Australia continued to operate a website and registry, quarterly newsletters, an online journal, and biennial conferences after John’s death. However, in February of 2017, the University of Wisconsin CCE informed the Executive Committee of the IIRLR Advisory Board that they could no longer support the Institute due to a lack of resources to run the program. They continued oversight until June 30, 2019. This decision by UWS-CCE required immediate action by the then President, Dr. Juliette Shellman and the Advisory Board to look for alternatives. Many ideas were proposed and discussed. The most practical and logical proposal was the development of a Center at UConn School of Nursing. This approach is partly a continuation of the Institute, but its name, mission, goals, and structure have been adjusted not only to fit the requirements for the establishment of an academic center at UConn, but also to make it even more attractive to scholars and practitioners from different backgrounds around the world. The proposal to transition to the UConn School of Nursing and apply to become a Center was approved by the Institute’s Advisory Board and its membership at the biennial meeting in Boston on November 13th, 2018. The Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice (ICLIP) became an official UConn center and was approved by the Provost and Board of Trustees in April 2019.