I’m writing in place of our president, Bill Fitzpatrick. As many of you may know, Bill has been ill and is taking a leave from his work with OLLI. We wish him the best for a swift recovery and hope he will be back with us soon.
My history with OLLI is much like many of yours. I came to OLLI to take classes when I retired. In fact, I looked up OLLI before I decided to retire. I knew I needed to keep my mind engaged. The first course I took was Michelle Roberge’s Shakespeare class. I immediately knew this would be a place for me to learn, grow, and make new friends. Since then, I’ve enrolled in numerous courses, and I found that my most meaningful experiences were in classes that filled in holes in my education. I found that despite all my liberal arts background, I had many blank spots in my learning. It’s great that OLLI offers us a place to stretch ourselves!
After taking an economics course, I began teaching - first in partnership with Dennis Youkstetter and then on my own. Preparation for classes is challenging because the members know so much and I feel the need to present new ideas. The discussions are truly stimulating for me as well as for members of the class.
Over the past year, I have become involved in OLLI governance and find that to be stimulating as well. But perhaps my most treasured involvement was during the preparation for our 20th anniversary when I had the opportunity to interview a number of the founders of the Senior University at CSULB, which later became OLLI. Their vision and hard work have benefitted us all. I am grateful for the chance to continue my learning.
We have been fortunate over the past three years to be able to present an annual Lori and Don Brault “Successful Aging” lecture in the spring of each year. The first lecture was “Discover a New Blue Zone at CSULB” that featured a panel discussion that included a description of the five areas of the world with the most centenarians and the power nine lessons for longevity, learned from these areas, as exemplified by our members. This was followed in 2015 by a presentation and book signing by professional actress and author Lee Gale Gruen entitled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” And finally, in 2016 “Ending Our Days in a Green House” was presented by Claire Lucas, a Guide for the Green House Project to reform nursing home care. Each presentation was open to OLLI members, students, faculty, and staff as well as the community at large. We are grateful to the Braults for their generous sponsorship of these events that have added to our understanding of how to age successfully.
We also congratulate the recipient of our first OLLI @ CSULB scholarship to support student research in the field of aging. Mathew Choi, an undergraduate honors student in computer
science with an Engineering Honors Program Specialization, was awarded $1,000 to support completion of his study: “Developing a Lower Limb Musculoskeletal Model of Older Adults.” Current simulations are for young males and do not take into account the lower limb characteristics of older adults including “reduced range of motion, decreased muscle activation capacity, and decreased tendon compliance”. This project will allow both researchers and clinicians to study movement of older subjects in order to enhance understanding and develop more age-specific treatments. We look forward to Mathew’s presentation of his study results upon graduation in Fall 2017. We hope to raise an additional $15,000 to endow this scholarship. We will then reward a deserving student annually. Directed donations to this fund are gratefully accepted!