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Texas Tech and OLLI Kick Off Fall Semester for Senior Learners

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute's newly appointed board members invite the public to an event Sept. 9 kicking off the fall semester with a former U.S. ambassador as the guest speaker. Pictured are board members Frank Reilly (front row, left), Sonya Smyrl, and Elaine Waddill; and Bill Rives (back row, left), Scott Streit, Jearl Thorpe, Bill Smyrl, Cynthia Clinesmith, and OLLI Associate Director Otto Ratheal. Courtesy photo

MARBLE FALLS — Ever wanted to learn more about the Hoodoo War of 1872 in Mason County?

That's just one of the many interesting topics those 50 and older study through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in partnership with the Texas Tech University campuses in the Highland Lakes, Fredericksburg, and Junction.

“As we age, we need to continue growing and learning,” said spokeswoman Elaine Waddill with the OLLI-Highland Lakes chapter. “We need the cognitive development, but we also need that ongoing relationship with other people, having fun and working on all those skills that keep us happy and healthy.”

Waddill, who is a coordinator for curriculum as well as membership services, marketing, and the social committee, introduced the newly appointed board for the Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay “breakout chapter” of the program.

She serves as vice chairwoman with Chairman Bill Smyrl and members Cynthia Clinesmith, Frank Reilly, Bill Rives, Sonya Smyrl, Scott Streit, Jann Thorpe, and Jearl Thorpe.

“Each of the communities in Texas are very unique,” Waddill said. “We have had such an interest in OLLI, we felt like we had an opportunity to break off into a separate chapter.

“Our area, at this point, is serving the Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay, and surrounding area,” she added.

Tibor P. Nagy Jr., TTU vice provost for international affairs, is the guest speaker.

OLLI coordinators are hosting a fall kick-off event from 5:30-8 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Riverbend Conference Center, 710 First St. in Marble Falls, to unveil the local chapter, launch the fall course lineup, and play host to a former U.S. ambassador as guest speaker: TTU vice provost for international affairs Tibor P. Nagy Jr.

Nagy is the former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia (1999-2002) and Guinea (1996-99).

The event is free and will include light hors d’ oevurs. Call (806) 834-4275 to RSVP.

In 2015, campuses in Fredericksburg, Marble Falls, and Junction began offering OLLI courses under one umbrella.

Non-credit classes included independent filmmaking, photography, spring gardening, and creative writing.

Over the past few years, courses have ranged from Taxes and Economic Growth and Diabetes Prevention to Alzeimer’s Management and the Texas Legislative Wrap-up.

OLLI receives its funding primarily from The Osher Foundation. Founded in 1977 by San Francisco businessman Bernard Osher, OLLI is a network of 119 programs offered on college and university campuses across the country.

For course offerings locally, students pay a $30 registration fee and $15 per course.

Featured fall courses on the Highland Lakes campus in Marble Falls include Interactive Religious Art, The War on Terror, and The Three Chapters of the Beatles.

“Our groups have learned about everything from wineries or a brewery to cupcake decorating, quilting, and conservation,” Waddill said. “We have so many wonderful, talented, and capable people in our community who are so accomplished and have so much life experience and skills to share.”

Office hours for OLLI of the Highland Lakes are 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at Texas Tech University at Highland Lakes, 806 Steve Hawkins Pkwy. Call (806) 834-4275.

In Fredericksburg, 2818 U.S. 290, OLLI office hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Call (830) 990-4948.

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