In the Winter 2016 SUN, I wrote about being a new OLLI member. Here’s the second part of the story. That first literature class whetted my appetite for more. Listening to hallway chatter, I surmised that the gold standard of OLLI courses was the Shakespeare class led by CSULB Carpenter Center Executive Director Michele Roberge. The hallway talk was right. What a terrific teacher! She opened my vision to 16th/17th century England, iambic pentameter, the superstitions regarding the Scottish Play, why Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t the greatest of classical actresses, and so much more. After a few quarters of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, I was confident enough for a further challenge. Then The SUN delivered the news of the class that would change my OLLI fortunes.
The class was William Butler Yeats: The Great Poet. The class leader was Emeritus Professor of English Les Mittleman. For me, it was the perfect storm of material, subject, and class leader. My long-standing interest in Ireland, my new-found interest in poetry, plus my admiration for an extremely knowledgeable and entertaining class leader all coalesced. When Yeats referenced Glasnevin, I recognized the place. When he drew portraits of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, I knew the personalities. I found my voice frequently asking, and occasionally answering, questions. Yeats became my favorite 90 minutes of the week. Les tolerated, then encouraged me. He prodded me to offer my own OLLI class on Irish history. I’m still grateful that he persisted until I said yes.
Course leaders, you are indispensable to OLLI. We wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you. And to those of you who might aspire to stand in front of the classroom and share your passion, I offer the same challenge that Dr. Mittleman so subtly hinted at: “If you’re so smart, Fitzpatrick, why don’t you teach a class?” Take the challenge. It’s worth it.
The Donor Wall. You cannot spend time in our OLLI lobby without noticing the new three-panel Donor Recognition Wall between the computer lab door and my office. This Wall is the result of a generous donation by an OLLI member. While we will continue to recognize our members in each edition of The SUN, the Wall will celebrate the cumulative donations of our members and friends.
On the left side of the wall we will recognize our Founding Members and Founding Donors. This will be a permanent panel. The right panel of the wall will be updated every two years to recognize growing donations from members and friends of OLLI.
Benefactors are those who have donated $10,000 or more, cumulatively, since the inception of OLLI in 1996.
Supporters are those who have donated $500 to $9,999 over a two-year period. The lists of Benefactors and Supporters will be updated every two years. Our first list of Benefactors will include donations from August 2013 through June 2015. Legacy donations will be recognized as they are received.
We are grateful for every donation, no matter the amount. It all supports lifelong learning at CSULB. While we recognize those who are able to give more, we pledge to be good stewards of each and every contribution.
Thank you to the members who donated to our annual fundraiser this past fall for the new OLLI Scholarship/Grant for a CSULB student. We netted almost $11,000. Your Governing Council approved an award of $1,500 to a student to support a project or thesis related to the field of aging. This year a committee of OLLI members will select a recipient following review of applications. The student will be expected to present the results of his/her work to OLLI members when it is completed. Our Governing Council has also approved depositing the remaining funds into an Endowment Build-Up
account. When we reach a minimum of $25,000 we will endow the scholarship in the name of OLLI @ CSULB. With your generosity we will build this fund to endowment status to support students doing work in the field of aging.