OLLI Dolphins Feast on Learning

By Jack Phillips, OLLI Steering Committee Chair

 OLLI steering committee

In a John Spoor Broome Library classroom, research archeologist Dr. Matt Curtis holds the crowd spellbound with tales of humankind’s successful move out of Africa, citing mitochondrial DNA evidence as well as evidence from his work in the region. Those who’ve attended biochemistry research professor Dr. Bob Stellwagen’s spectacular tours of microbiology have an advantage: they’ve already learned about mitochondrial DNA. On another day, literature professors Sharon Diffner and Dr. Marilyn Vail lead groups of readers eager to discern the nature of literature and mine new rich seams of meaning in selected novels, which discerning students connect to the insights flowing from “The Power of Myth,” the latest offering by Dr. Bill Garlington, master story-teller of the mystery of meaning. These are just a small sample of the rich feast of learning that CI’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) students enjoyed in spring 2013.

The Osher Foundation tasks each OLLI program at its 117 host campuses with crafting a program unique to its needs. Working closely with Program Director Nick Fuentes, the OLLI Dolphins have taken full responsibility for the content, funding, and growth of the program. Faced with a budget shortfall in spring 2012, OLLI’s Steering Committee issued a call for help and quickly raised $15,000 to support the program. The curriculum, finance, and outreach committees have all launched programs that are paying off handsomely in new growth and vitality. 

The program has set high standards for academic quality since its inception in 2004, drawing together intellectually curious seasoned adults and top-quality instructors in a community formed around the sheer love of learning. Today, the CI-OLLI partnership is one of the premier realizations of Bernard Osher’s vision of university-level continuing education for students aged 50 and better. 

We invite you to join us! Together, we’ll continue to go further.