In 2021, OLLI celebrates its 30th year of classes for seniors. This feature provides fun facts and interesting milestones about our institute each week that E-News is published throughout the year.
The first location for Learning in Retirement Institute was Mason’s Commerce II Building (staff would move into the hallway during class time) at 4085 University Drive, with no charge to OLLI for use of this space. Later other sites in Fairfax City were offered free, including City Hall, the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, the Gold’s Gym Building, and the Juvenile Justice Courthouse of Fairfax County.
We’re all probably browsing the beautiful summer catalog now, deciding which courses to sign up for, lamenting that we have to choose between so many attractive offerings. As you turn the pages, I hope you’ll pause at the beginning of each subject area section to note the names of OLLI’s program planning co-chairs. These are the dedicated volunteers who labor tirelessly year-round to develop courses.
You’ll also find some new co-chairs’ names, OLLI members whose enthusiasm and special interests have prompted them to join the exciting planning process. When we asked them to tell a little about their backgrounds and interests, these are their responses in their own words:
Dorothy Gudgel: Literature, Theater, and Writing/Languages: “I first joined OLLI in the fall of 2018 when I retired as an adult education English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher with the Fairfax County Public Schools. An avid reader and lifelong lover of literature, my heroes have always been writers, dating back to my college days. . . I am very happy to assist with Literature Planning committee in Reston!”
Linda Harber: Art and Music: “I joined OLLI in 2018 after retiring from George Mason University as their VP of Human Resources, Payroll and Faculty/Staff Life. We used to promote OLLI at our annual Retirement Benefits Fair. . . I have always loved music, arts and theater. . . and was so happy to get back to them in retirement. OLLI and Friends of Music at Mason (FOMM) have brought these back to me.”
Christine Narbut: Art and Music:
“. . .I joined OLLI because of the variety of class offerings, including water-color classes. . . I had recently retired from the Fairfax County Health Department. . . and found in OLLI an incredible variety of challenging educational programs. As a registered nurse and educator, I am excited to be a member of the OLLI community and participate in the health, talents, and education that the OLLI community offers its members.”
Notice also that some other names have been added to our co-chairs lists fairly recently:
Marvin Singer: Economics and Finance
Mark Dodge and Michele Romano: Science, Technology, and Health
Linda Bergman: Literature, Theater, and Writing/Languages.
We’re so grateful to our program chairs for their ongoing efforts to produce an engaging, robust program. And we invite all OLLI members to join the planning process. These groups meet several times a year on Zoom. Watch for announcements in E-News, Connections email, and daily schedules. You are cordially invited to tune in, find out how your program is made, and participate in the process.
The Computer Club (OLLI Personal Computer User Group, or OPCUG) will meet with its partner, the Potomac Area Technology and Computer Society (PATACS), on Saturday, May 15 via Zoom. Program activities begin at 1:00.
Offline Maps for Android Devices – Presented by John Krout. All map apps for portable devices depend on two data sources: GPS signals from satellites, and map images from cell towers.
Have you ever visited an area where cell phone service is spotty or simply not available? There are many such places in the US, including popular national parks. That condition makes it difficult to use apps such as Google Maps or Waze to navigate. Those apps depend on downloading maps via cell towers; they stop displaying maps when cell towers are not accessible.
John’s demo will show you how two Android map apps can use offline maps, meaning maps stored on the phone or tablet. These maps work fine when cell tower service is either not available, low bandwidth, or when demand exceeds supply, meaning a crowd is overtaxing the one and only nearby cell tower. It turns out that downloadable offline maps for the entire US, Canada and western Europe are available online for free.
A frequent OPCUG meeting presenter, John also is the author of many of the articles on the PATACS Zoom reference page, and many PATACS Posts newsletter offerings.
Attend via Zoom’s cloud meeting service, beginning at 1:00. Please click this link to join the meeting and use passcode 794756, or enter meeting ID 948 9296 8399 in the Zoom app and use the above passcode.
John Olsen and Edward Marion,
Photography Club Coordinators
Local Wildlife Photographer to Speak
at the OLLI Photo Club
Sometimes, our passion for something manifests itself in many ways, and occasionally, that which we become passionate about begins to define us.
At the next OLLI Photo Club meeting on Friday, May 14, attendees will see and hear how one man’s early interests and hobby turned into his passion to educate others about the beauty and importance of our natural environment.
Robert D’Souza, an electrical engineer who has taught that subject for many years in the Fairfax County Public Schools, will discuss his passion for wildlife photography and how he traveled extensively in all seven continents to record his important images, which he uses in teaching about environmental issues.
“I plan to show some of my photographs to emphasize our fascinating world, which for me, never ceases to create a sense of wonder. I hope this inspires one to travel after we’re free to do so again, and discover - and photograph - the marvels of our magnificent planet,” said D’Souza.
Plan to join the next Photo Club gathering at 9:30, Friday, May 14 – on Zoom, of course. The OLLI Daily Schedule will provide information on how to connect.
And remember, the OLLI Photo Club is a free benefit of your membership. It is a wonderful way to improve your photography skills or just see what other OLLI members are accomplishing with their cameras and smart phones.
Coffee Klatch on May 14 - What’s Next After the Pandemic?
By Toni Acton, Member Services Committee Chair
Join your OLLI friends at the Grab ‘n’ Gab Coffee Klatch on Friday, May 14, from 10:00 to 11:30 for a bit of online socializing and a lively discussion of OLLI after the pandemic. In-person vs. Zoom classes? Should we continue recording classes? Should vaccinations be required for in-person classes? Register for Event #1104 via the member portal or contact the registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk with OLLI friends at any time on this 24-7 open ChatLine. Arrange a time to meet friends online or drop in for an organized discussion. We have scheduled a few specific times and topics for chats this week, including:
Monday, May 10, 4:30-5:30—Topic: Cicadas. Love them, hate them? Any memories from 17 years ago to share? Any yummy recipes to share for the red-eyed invaders? Or other socially redeeming attributes to offer? How do they affect your outdoor experiences? Your gardening? Your sleep?
Wednesday, May 12, 4:30-5:30—Topic: Social Networks. We had an interesting class on social networks a week or two ago. It would be interesting to hear what kinds of social networks your membership at OLLI have generated. Have they endured? Changed? If you attended or viewed the presentation, was it relevant to you? (An aside: the chatline is yet another approach to developing and fostering social networks that OLLI is trying out here.) Your thoughts are appreciated.
Look for links to this and any future ChatLine events in your inbox as part of the daily schedule email. Have feedback or an idea on a time/topic? Click here to email Doris Bloch.
Although Mason’s campus is shut down, online entertainment continues for us to access and enjoy. Dr. Linda Apple Monson produces a periodic “Notes from the Director.” This email is full of interesting online performances by the students and faculty of the School of Music. If you would like to receive these bulletins, just send an email to Brianna Schoen email@example.com. Also, the Center for the Arts has a websiteMason Arts at Home, which has a calendar of online events and access to many past performances. Information can also be found at CFA ticket purchase page, Center for the Arts YouTube Channel, or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
Please note: Physical meetings for clubs and activities are canceled until further notice in accordance with Mason’s guidelines. OLLI is conducting its classes and activities online. Refer to the university's coronavirus website for official university updates and check the OLLI calendar for revised information.
The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office. The list is accurate as of mid-week but for the most up-to-date information, please view the latest forecast of coming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, kick-off coffees, etc. (bolded below). The OLLI office has sent (or will send) emails with links and meeting passwords to club members; you may also log in at the member portal and click on ZOOM CLASS LINKS.
Sat May 8
Tai Chi Club
Mon May 10
Tue May 11
Tai Chi Club
Wed May 12
Spanish Club ChatLine: Social Networks
Thu May 13
Tai Chi Club
Fri May 14
Craft & Conversation
Grab ‘n’ Gab Coffee Klatch
Classic Literature Club
Tallwood Book Club
Sat May 15
Tai Chi Club
Personal Computer User Group
Tue May 18
Tai Chi Club
Wed May 19
Mah Jongg Club
Thu May 20
Memoir and More Writing Group
Tai Chi Club
Fri May 21
Craft & Conversation
Classic Literature Club
Chief Editor: Paul Van Hemel
Associate Editor: David Gundry
Weekly Editor Team: David Gundry, John Nash, Sheri Siesseger, Paul Van Hemel Proofreaders: Rebecca Jann, Susan Van Hemel, Tom Appich, Roz Stark, Jane Hassell
Submissions: Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles, and photos. Submit material to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: Tuesday, 6:00, for that week's issue (Monday, 6:00, for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words. Search E-News: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News at ENews Archives. To search the content within issues, use Search or enter your search term(s) in Google followed by “site:olli.gmu.edu/” without the quotes.