OLLI E-News #18 of Dec. 2, 2005
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Friday, Dec. 2, 2005
About this newsletter

>> WINTER CATALOG NOW AVAILABLE ON WEBSITE--By the time you see this or within a day or so, you can review winter-term catalog information online and make your tentative course selections. Printed catalogs are scheduled to be bulk mailed on Fri, Dec 9.
>> GMU THEATER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT--Performance tonight 8pm at Fairfax City Old Town Hall. Free, refreshments served. Read details.
>> OLLI BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING: On Fri, Dec 16, 10:00 in TA-1. All OLLI members are invited and encourage to participate, especially since the proposed 2006 budget will be discussed and up for approval.
>> REFLECTIONS ON TOWN MEETING: By the Membership Committee chair
>> TURKEY REDUX: The GMU trip to Turkey in March 2006 is filling up
>> MEET YOUR DIRECTORS: Vice president Pat Carroll
>> REMEMBER THAT TRIP?: Let others be 'armchair travelers' on your trip
>> BOARD-MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: Here's what happened at the last meeting

Our weekly Web polls provide member feedback to OLLI management

Question: "Which one of the following categories of courses would you MOST like to see more of in future OLLI catalogs?"

Vote here in this Web poll and then instantly see the results to date, including your vote. Later, anytime during the week, check back to see how the online membership has voted. A new question will be posted each Friday, for your voting pleasure. Note: We apologize if the Question of the Week is not visible, which can sometimes happen when this free service we are using exceeds its bandwidth, and we ask you to re-visit the site later to see if you can vote.

The last question (Nov. 18) was, "What is your preference on the length of time between the three classes?"
Results: A total of 112 members voted, approximately 16 percent of the membership. Half of voting members voted to keep the schedule the way it is now (9:30-11:00, 11:30-1:00, 2:00-3:30), with no change. A third voted for only 30 minutes between all classes (i.e, the third class would run from 1:30-3:00 rather than 2:00-3:30). Sixteen percent voted for 45 minutes between each of the three classes. (i.e., 9:30-11:00, 11:45-1:15, 2:00-3:30).

Part one of two articles from the Membership Committee chair
By Debbie Halverson, Membership Committee Chair
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE THERE, I DON'T HAVE TO DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE of participating in OLLI’s first Town Meeting on November 4th. Close your eyes and you can still hear the noise (“Eh, what did you say? Can you hear me now?”) of about 100 folks packed into TA-1, crammed around tables and wondering what was coming next. For the rest of you, I am sure that you appreciate and respect the contributions of your fellow OLLI-ites in this effort to benefit all of OLLI.
     As Membership Committee Chair and Board member, I thank you for being there and for your input. We offered, and continue to offer, you our ears. To be fair, we would assume we have yours, that you trust the men and women on this board to have the institute’s best interests in mind as we deliberate the many matters that come before it.
     When the Membership committee proposed this meeting, one of our purposes was to provide transparency, not that it wasn’t always there, but that lacking a huge member turnout at regular Board meetings and lacking everyone’s close reading of Board meeting reports in OLLI News, members often seemed unaware of what was going on at the top or even the middle of OLLI governance. So we said, “Let’s give ourselves a Town Meeting hash-out of ideas for members to chew on,” or words to that effect.

Don't let your enthusiasm and involvement end with the town meeting. Attend Board meetings; make your views known; use the vehicles available to give us feedback -- We want your input.

SEVERAL OF US WERE IMPRESSED WITH THE KINDS OF QUESTIONS that were raised during the Q&A section of the meeting. With such an open forum and large body of participants, one might have expected one or two negative comments. Certainly a few comments overheard in social room chit-chat fall into the “griping” category, but no such comments made it to the floor of our Town Meeting.
     Enthusiasm and involvement are crucial to success in every aspect of what OLLI offers. Your various committee chairs were listening, taking notes, and--when feasible--will act on your suggestions. Don’t let it end here. Attend Board meetings and make your views known; President Charles Duggan readily recognizes non-board member comments and questions. The online suggestion box, the suggestion boxes at Tallwood and Lake Anne, letters to the editors of OLLI News--these vehicles are clear evidence to you that we recognize the brains and hearts of each member as valuable, and we want your input. I have sat at a table preparing envelopes for a mailing and, in the conversation among the other folders and stampers, have heard some great suggestions for bettering either our program or our procedures.
     As I see it, we can all identify ourselves as intelligent and thoughtful participants in the overall mental power that is necessary to run a volunteer organization like OLLI. The beauty of our membership is evidenced in its multiplicity, the diversity of our experiential backgrounds, our coming together in this place and time from many states, socio-ethnic backgrounds, even a variety of native countries. Our membership is by this definition our best resource.
     So, with our Town Meeting, we accomplished our immediate goal: we made you aware; we got you talking. Now for the harder stuff: putting the talk into action. Some improvements are readily accomplished, like the Publication Committee’s response to suggestions about cost-cutting actions on certain of its publications. Others may take more time and demand patience. Please grant us that. And meanwhile, I do need to remind you that some of our recommendations require warm bodies willing to do the active work of carrying out your suggestions. Just a thought, no pressure, sign up here.  
Next week: Debbie's response to suggestions specific to the Membership Committee.
Back to top.

An update on the March 2006 trip to Turkey
By Susanne Zumbro, Board member & Travel Program Project Leader
STILL SAVORING THAT THANKSGIVING TURKEY? Time to turn your attention once again to the upcoming study tour to the country of Turkey. Shannon Phelan, Program Officer for the Center of Global Education at GMU, reports that spaces are filling up, and we are rapidly approaching the official application deadline of December 16, 2005.
     As previously reported, the trip is scheduled for March 10-19, 2006. It will be led by Dr. Larry Butler, Associate Professor at GMU and a former Fulbright scholar in Turkey. The itinerary reflects the experience of Prof. Butler, who has lived in Istanbul and explored Turkey during nearly 30 years of regular visits as an art historian. Included will be a visit to the Aegean coast to explore the magnificent Greek, Roman and early Christian antiquities of Ephesus and Kusadasi. In preparation for the trip, our winter schedule of classes will include a four-week course on Turkey, the last of the four classes being taught by Dr. Butler himself.
     Doesn't this sound exciting?! An application as well as a more complete description of the trip can be found at the CGE Website. Please direct all questions related to the trip to Shannon Phelan, 703-993-3864.
     Will you be traveling as a single and looking for a roommate? If so, please contact OLLI member Helen Anderson, 703-323-5681. Helen has graciously volunteered to maintain a list for that purpose. Back to top.

A continuation of our profiles on Board members
By Elizabeth Crawford, OLLI E-News staff writer
PAT CARROLL CAME TO LRI/OLLI after 27 years in the U.S. Air Force and 21 years with UniSys Corp, eventually as Vice President of Program Management.
     He was active on a number of OLLI committees before being appointed to the Board of Directors in 2003 to replace Alan Montecino, who had become ill. Currently Pat is Vice President of the Board and chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, where he keeps statistics that are necessary for planning. At the Town Meeting on November 4, he spoke of his committee's role in determining the future of OLLI. In conjunction with Executive Director Dick Chobot, his committee is examining options to increase OLLI's service to the community, given our obvious space constraints.
     Colleagues report that Pat is quick to volunteer for ad hoc projects and that he always has something interesting and positive to contribute to committee discussions. According to Pat, the members and the varying programs each semester are what make OLLI an exciting place to be.
Back to top.

Let others be 'armchair travelers' during your Trip Tale
By Virlinda Synder, Program Committee member
RELIVE A RECENT FABULOUS TRIP BY SHARING IT, in a single session, with other OLLI members! Designed to entice those who didn't go with you but would have liked to, our Trip Tales have allowed many to travel vicariously to countries around the world.
     The Program Committee is looking for members burning to share their travel stories and photos. Been on a good Elderhostel trip lately? Tell us about it! For details and arrangements, please call me at 703-339-5748 or send me an email. Back to top.

A report to the membership about the last Board Meeting
By Carol Henderson, OLLI Secretary
AT THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING ON NOV 18, the Board, following up on a report on OLLI travel opportunities by Susanne Zumbro, directed the president to establish a Travel Advisory Subcommittee to the Program Committee. The subcommittee, working with the Executive Director, will identify and evaluate tour operators and establish travel opportunities that it determines to be of interest to OLLI members.
     In a sense-of-the-Board statement, the Board agreed with Publications Committee chair Gordon Canyock’s recommendations that fostering two-way communications is a valid mission for Publications, and that committee chairs should coordinate all decisions that potentially affect OLLI operations with the Executive Director, who should have the responsibility for final approval.

The balanced budget proposed for 2006 assumes new sources of income, including
-- $8,000 in revenues from services and sponsorships,
-- $7,000 from an assumed increase of $10 in annual dues from a membership of 700, and

-- $8,000 of undesignated funds generated in prior years.

THE BOARD AUTHORIZED DISBURSEMENT OF UP TO $5,000 in Friends of OLLI funds for acquisition of an office copier to replace the aging GMU copier now in the office.
     Don Yesukaitis’ Treasurer’s report and the Finance Committee’s 2006 budget proposal were the main subjects of discussion. Although OLLI has now received a letter from the Osher Foundation confirming its intent to provide a $1 million endowment, some issues must be clarified before the agreement can be signed by all parties.
     The $1 million endowment will be sent under Osher Foundation procedures to the GMU Foundation and invested under the GMU Foundation’s investment policies, but it is expected to be at least a year and a half before any endowment income will be paid to OLLI. Thus the endowment, while providing OLLI some investment income in 2007 and beyond, will have no effect on the 2006 budget.
     Don Yesukaitis described the proposed 2006 budget unanimously approved by the Finance Committee (Don as chair, Pat Carroll, Pat Cosslett, Dick Chobot, Charles Duggan, Tom Hady and Joe Torpey) as forward looking, conservative and meeting long-term needs. To create a balanced budget, it assumes new sources of income, including $8,000 in revenues from services and sponsorships, $7,000 from an assumed increase of $10 in annual dues from a membership of 700, and $8,000 of undesignated funds generated in prior years. It also assumes (as previously agreed) that the Executive Director’s salary and benefits will come from new grant or outside funding.
     The budget assumption of a $10 dues increase prompted considerable concern and discussion, both pro and con. No action was taken on the budget proposal. It will be on the agenda for the Board’s December 16 meeting at 10:00 at Tallwood. OLLI members are encouraged to attend and voice their views.
Editor's note. OLLI members are often encouraged to attend Board meetings and express their views. As OLLI E-News editor, I have been attending Board meetings regularly to stay up-to-speed with what is happening at OLLI, and I personally urge you to consider attending these sessions so you can learn what goes on and let your opinions be known.
     If you ever want to express a concern, question, complaint, compliment or suggestion to the OLLI leadership, you have many ways of doing this:
  • Contact any board member or the Executive Director. You can talk with, email or telephone any board member or the Executive Director. A list of OLLI officers, other board members and staff is on our Website's organization page, and you can consult your Membership Directory for email addresses and phone numbers not listed on that Web page.
  •  Email the entire Board of directors. Send your email to the OLLI office, copy to the Executive Director, and specifically request that your message be forwarded to the email group of all Board members.
  • Use the suggestion box. You may use the online suggestion box or the suggestion box in the social room at Tallwood. You do not need to include your name unless you want an answer, in which case you need to provide your name and phone number or email address.
  • Write a letter to the editor. If you want your item to be published in OLLI E-News, email one of the editors (Rod Zumbro or Gordon Canyock) or use the suggestion box, making sure you say that your submission is a letter to the editor.
-- Rod Zumbro, OLLI E-News editor

You can help OLLI and GMU by participating in a focus group
By Dr. Richard Chobot, Executive Director
I AM LOOKING FOR UP TO 30 OLLI MEMBERS to participate in one of three focus groups on the subject of the planned University-Based Retirement Community ("UBRC"). The focus groups will be held at Tallwood in TA-1 on Monday, Dec 12 (1:00-2:30), Tuesday, Dec 13 (1:00-2:30) and Thursday, Dec 15 (10:00-11:30).
     As you may be aware, the university is considering the development of a UBRC. OLLI members are representative of the population that such a facility might serve. It also has been discussed that OLLI will move to this facility, when built. Tom Hennessey, the chief of staff to President Merten, is overseeing the UBRC initiative. In a recent meeting, I offered to conduct three focus groups at OLLI relating to the UBRC. 
     A focus group is a 90-minute session, involving six to 10 participants. A number of questions are posed to the group and initially responded to by each individual, followed by additional dialogue as time permits. The goal is not consensus. Anonymity of individual participants is protected in any reporting of results. Anyone interested in learning how a focus group works can go this Website for a brief description of the process.
     If you are interested in participating in one of the groups, please email me. Specify the date(s) and time(s) you can attend. I will confirm upon receipt of your email until I have the 30 participants. In recognition of participants’ service, the “good” cookies will be served. Thank you in advance for your help. Back to top.

Something for everyone at nearby GMU
By Jan Bohall, OLLI Catalog editor
For tickets, call 888-945-2468 or visit the
Center for the Arts Box Office, Tue–Sat, 10:00–6:00

GMU’s Theater of the First Amendment
First Fridays at Old Town Hall
Virginia Opera
Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet
GMU Dance Company
Friday, Dec 2 at 8:00
Dramatic readings and seasonal music,
including a reading of
A Child’s Christmas in Wales,
by Dylan Thomas
Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax
Friday, Dec 2 at 8:00
Sunday, Dec 4 at 2:00
Sung in French with English supertitles
Admission $84, $68, $44
Concert Hall
Center for the Arts
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Dec 8, 9, 10
at 8:00
Admission $7 for seniors
Dance Performance Studio
For information call 703-993-1376
GMU Opera Come early at 6:30 to the Concert Hall Lobby for a wine and cheese tasting GMU Music Holiday Concert
A Celebration of Mozart, Part I
Friday and Saturday, Dec 9-10 at 8:00
Admission $10 for seniors
Harris Theater

Featuring Mason Choirs, Symphony Orchestra & Jazz Ensembles
Sunday, Dec 11 at 7:00
Admission $8 for seniors
Concert Hall

A forum for members to voice their views on OLLI matters

THE EDITORIAL STAFF WILL PUBLISH your brief letters commenting on OLLI activities and will try to include follow-up information from the relevant committee or staff member, in the same or a subsequent issue. Submit your letters via email to Rod Zumbro, OLLI E-News editor or to me, or submit them (please indicate that it is a 'letter to the editor') via the online suggestion box or the suggestion box in the Tallwood Social Room.

-- Gordon Canyock, OLLI News editor

OLLI's 2006 budget is up for review and approval on Dec 16

It's that time of year again! It's time for the OLLI Board to review and approve the OLLI operating budget for the coming year. The proposed 2006 budget, submitted to the Board at its November 18th meeting, includes several new line items, an increase in expenditures in a number of areas, and a $10/per person dues increase.
     Should you have any comments or concerns in relation to the budget, I urge you to share them with any Board member, including myself. Should you want to see a detailed copy of the budget, it is my understanding that it is available for review by any OLLI member by means of a request to our Executive Director. The final budget will be discussed and passed at the December 16th Board meeting, which will take place at 10:00 at Tallwood. You are cordially invited and encouraged to attend that meeting. We want to hear from YOU!
-- Susanne Zumbro, OLLI Board member, phone 703-569-2750

Don't tell us only about musical and theatrical events

I DO think it would be nice if OLLI E-News didn't concentrate only on musical and theatrical events but on speakers and special events, too. When I was getting my doctorate there, I heard some great speakers. When a university has Nobel winners and becomes well known across the nation, good speakers will come, and OLLI members should receive info on this. I remember a couple of speakers--Betty Friedan and a civil rights leader--who were especially interesting.
-- Carlyn Elder, OLLI member
Response from the editors--
Thank you for the excellent suggestion, Carlyn. We will investigate expanding our coverage of GMU activities of possible interest to our membership and are looking for a volunteer to work on it.

Rod Zumbro

Karen Hamilton


Karen Hamilton

About OLLI E-News. OLLI E-News is emailed to OLLI members on Fridays when sufficient content is available. Each issue contains new content (during class terms, the same content will appear the following week in the printed OLLI News distributed in classrooms). We encourage OLLI members and staff employees to submit news items and write articles. Comments, suggestions or complaints? Please contact the OLLI E-News editor or the Publications Committee chair, Gordon Canyock.

Note about HTML graphicsIf you do NOT see photos and clickable links in this message, you might want to ask your child or teenage grandchild to fix things for you. Or you could change your email settings yourself. Here's how to view html-formatted messages in three popular email systems:
  • Outlook Express. Click Tools; select Options; in the Read tab, uncheck "Read all messages in plain text." 
  • Yahoo Mail. Click Mail Options/General Preferences; under Security, uncheck "Block HTML graphics in email messages from being downloaded." 
  • AOL. Upgrade, if possible, to an AOL version above 5.0. 
GMU Webmail. If OLLI E-News is being sent to your gmu.edu email address, we recommend against using GMU Webmail to read the newsletter because you will not be able to view it as one document, with text and images. Back to top.
Updated: May 15, 2006

Copyright © 2006 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University. Materials in this publication subject to OLLI-GMU copyright may be reproduced for noncommercial educational purposes as long as credit is given to OLLI-GMU.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University
4210 Roberts Rd., Fairfax, VA 22032-1028
Phone: (703) 503-3384; E-mail: olli@gmu.edu; Fax: (703) 503-2832
Original site design and construction by OLLI-GMU member Rod Zumbro.