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In the Spotlight

by Sylvia Manheim

(Editor’s note: The “Spotlight” dims. This is Sylvia’s last “Spotlight” column. We cannot replace her or her voice. In future issues we will use this space to highlight volunteer groups and their important work for OLLI. Thank You Sylvia for being you and loving OLLI as you do. We WILL be seeing you! – Smiles, Rick)
         The SUN was born in 1996 and continued to be called The SUN all these years. Jack Blecher, the first editor of this newsletter, asked me to be the “Spotlight” columnist which would be a continuing article in each issue. I have written this column four times a year for twenty-three years. During my tenure there were hundreds of phone calls, interviews, and attending lectures, meetings, and classes in order to write interesting articles. During those many years there have been friendships, love affairs, marriages, grandchildren being born, and graduations, also travel and many celebrations. Unfortunately, some of our dear friends and members died as

well.


In 1996 we had 118 students in three classes–– Memoir Writing, Current Events, and Medical BioEthics. Max Freeland was the first president as well as the teacher of the first Memoir Class. Max’s wife Ray served coffee and cookies at our first membership meeting and many others, and also taught Current Events. We’ve had ten OLLI presidents, including current president Naida Tushnet. Barbara Katz was our first archivist. A grant from Long Beach Community Hospital provided for an executive secretary. Barbara Stevens made a donation to provide projectors for the computer lab and the classroom.
The Archstone Foundation and Epson gave a large donation to set up our computer lab, which Dave Lowe and Con Rader were in charge of. Dave’s wife, Jean, was head of volunteers for fifteen years. Betty Hutchinson set up our art show, still a smashing success, to
display the work of our student artists. Fran Harding started
the chorus program, still going strong. Carl Curtis and
Karin Covey are still our quintessential volunteers along with many others who have given their time and talent, and every instructor who has taught classes. Of course, without volunteers it would be impossible to run OLLI.
While we were still a young institution, Lynn Perlman and yours truly visited churches, temples, community centers, libraries, and garden clubs to grow our enrollment and let the community know that Senior University had classes for adults over fifty. In 2006 Senior University changed its name to Osher Lifelong Learning
Institute, shortened to OLLI, after being given an endowment by that organization. We must also have a liaison between CSULB and OLLI. Our Executive Director Barbara White fills that need.

 

In addition

by Sylvia

Today we have nearly ninety classes each session and close to 1,900 members. We have classes in art, music,poetry, architecture, philosophy, astronomy, finance, technology, theater,drama, short stories, Shakespeare, Brooklyn, current events,history, and too many others to mention. The LifeFit Center classrooms offer a place for physical educational experiences such as yoga, tai chi chih, reikii, and more. OLLI recently started travel and field trips to museums and historical
places. We also have special events open to the public.
The majority of OLLI classes are held at CSULB, but we also have had four satellite locations. Unfortunately, Leisure World has temporarily been discontinued, but we hope to resume there again. OLLI classes and experiences give our senior students structure and enhance the quality of their lives. Our motto is “Learn More ~ Age Less.”
         For everything there is a season, a time to start and a time to end. I have truly relished all these experiences of meeting and interviewing people, taking classes, giving talks to our students, and of course writing this column (thank you, Rebecca Low, for all the help). However, I have decided that it is time both for renewal and a new perspective for the “Spotlight” column. I hope that my successor will enjoy his or her experiences being part of this incredible publication and writing for you as much as I have.
        Now that I am ninety-four, my grandson (Milo Manheim), a famous young celebrity and actor, has promised that in five years he will be able to support me in any fashion I desire! Meanwhile, I will continue to take classes at OLLI and read the “Spotlight.”