OLLI at Pacific Gives Older Adults Learning Opportunities

OLLI members watch a presentation on spring OLLI lectures.   PC: Zach Withrow

This spring, thousands of young people will receive a quality education here at the University of the Pacific. This, you already know.

What you probably did not know, however, is that hundreds of local senior citizens will also visit Pacific this spring in order to learn and explore new ideas as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Pacific.

OLLI at Pacific is one of over 100 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the country. The organization’s goal is to “improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts… for seasoned adults,” according to osherfoundation.org.

Through the support of the Osher Foundation, the University of the Pacific, the Center for Professional and Continuing Education, and OLLI members themselves, intellectually-curious adults have had access to academic and general interest courses here at Pacific for just over a decade.

While the courses offered at OLLI are designed for adults aged 50 or older, all are welcome to join the organization. After hearing many of the fascinating lectures being offered this spring, it is no wonder that younger adults would want to participate, as well.

Announced at the OLLI at Pacific Spring Preview Reception early last month, featured lectures cover topics such as corruption in modern America, healthy communication, cybercrime and the history of a secret city in the Mojave Desert.

The courses are all taught by experts in their respective fields. For example, various technology courses are taught by Microsoft Certified Professional David Diskin, and adjunct professor Deanna Hunt, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in painting, teaches a variety of visual arts courses.

OLLI members also have the opportunity to go on plenty of exciting trips. The travel plan this spring includes trips to Yosemite, Monterey, Locke Town, wineries in Lodi and Acampo, the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and even Italy.

Dr. Marie Lorrain Mallare-Jimenez of the McGeorge School of Law will lead one of these trips along with historian Nate Knodt; she also serves as Stockton Arts Commissioner and will guide a tour around Stockton to several lesser-known historic art sites around the city.

“A lot of our OLLI members are willing to try out new things,” Dr. Mallare-Jimenez said. “If you look at the programs, it’s not just lectures. You have cooking classes, computer classes, how to use Facebook, adventure classes… There are a lot of things out there for those aged 50-plus. It’s never too late to learn, to be involved, and to make new friends.”

Local business owner Catherine Yee is one those adults looking to get involved. Yee told The Pacifican that she had wanted to join OLLI for a long time, but only recently found the time to attend events.

“I want to take classes,” Yee said. “I’m interested in some of the art classes, and they also have a couple field trips that I’m interested in. I would like to travel at some point; the Central America program looks really fascinating.”

OLLI at Pacific also offers courses on health and wellness. Along with classes on yoga and nutritional needs for older adults, Tai Chi Chuan Qigong is offered at the Grace Covell Dining Hall. Bing Hui of the Tai Chi Institute of Stockton teaches the course, which consists of exercises designed to improve flexibility, oxygen intake, and overall health.

“One of the main things we are trying to do is improve balance, especially for the seniors,” Hui said. “Along the way, you learn where to put your feet, and you improve coordination.”

OLLI at Pacific ensures that it is never too late to learn something new. Those interested in becoming a member or registering for specific classes can visit the “University College” section of the University of the Pacific website, or email OLLI@pacific.edu.

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