“When you are not sure where
you are going, you will probably
end up somewhere else.”
This old saying has many variations and most are true. Every organization will either develop or shrivel,
grow or shrink, adapt or falter, prosper or dwindle with the passage of time. Every person, group, or organiza tion must plan for the future. OLLI is no different.
Four years ago, our OLLI Governing Council approved a new strategic plan
to sustain, focus, and grow our OLLI.
In the spirit of this plan, our Curriculum Committee, under the
leadership of Karen McDonough and Pat Wrenn, has broadened and
diversified our courses on, the main campus, Pine Avenue, Leisure World and at the new activity rooms at the LifeFit Center. Our recent academic year, for example, offered 237 courses.
Our Development committee's fund-raising successes, under the
leadership of Dennis Youkstetter and Jody Ramsey, have made us confi -
dently optimistic about OLLI's financial viability.
Thanks to the support of our loyal members and with advice from the
Computer Committee (Con, Wes, Kathy, et al.), we have been able to
upgrade the computer lab with new Mac workstations. Our Instructional
Technology Committee, led by Carl Curtis, also helped install new audiovisual equipment in our 101 and Pine Avenue classrooms.
Our Publications Committee led by Jack Blecher and Judy Mednick and
John Tellez of our Membership Committee have spread the news about OLLI and have helped us recruit and retain OLLI members.
Building on these successes, OLLI Vice President, Bill Fitzpatrick, and his team are now putting together a new strategic plan for the next four years to visualize OLLI's future and how to get there. The future of OLLI looks bright thanks to you, our members, benefactors, and fellow students.
Every 18 months two representatives from each of the OLLIs across the United States are invited to attend the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes National Conference.
This is an opportunity to learn from each other and share with each other the successes,
new ideas, and solutions to the challenges of running an effective program. This year, Malcolm Green and I attended the Conference
in Carlsbad, CA. Mary Bitterman, the President of the Bernard Osher Foundation, shared
a paper on the 35 years of Osher Philanthropy. To date the Foundation has funded 117
Institutes throughout the country for “seasoned adults,” including the endowments our OLLI received in 2006 and in 2012. Mr. Osher, a
soft-spoken and humorous man, told of his commitment to lifelong learning and to adult re-entry programs for those who were unable to complete a degree in their early life histories.
David Blazevich, Senior Program Officer,
noted that each OLLI is uniquely designed for its circumstances within a specific University or College with no attempt being made for conformity in design. “If you’ve seen one OLLI,
you’ve seen one OLLI” is a celebrated
At the two-day conference we talked of many things... “of cabbages and kings.” These included strategic planning and member surveys (both of which we have done), diversity and development, recruitment and retention,
peer learning, and parking (a problem
everywhere!), technology and teaching strategies, campus and community
outreach and involvement, hearing and health.
Though we know there are many ways to improve and grow our organization, Mr. Blazevich views us as an example of an “excellent” OLLI. This is, of course, thanks to the vision of the founding members of our “Senior University” in 1996, to the exquisite
volunteer leadership that we have been blessed with through the years, to our curriculum and instructors, to the ongoing support we receive from the College of Health and Human Services and our Dean, and to our dedicated members and friends.