Phone:(703) 503-3384


Print a condensed .pdf copy of this newsletter, two web pages per sheet of paper.

For Parking at Tallwood, a Lot Has Happened!
September 2016

September 16, 2016

Editor of the Week: John Nash

Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

– Don’t forget the new member coffee in Tallwood TA-1, on Friday, September 23, 10:00 – 11:30. All members are welcome.

– There are two new events available for registration: Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain who Saved It, (event 990), Friday, October 14, 1:00 – 2:30, and Iran and Iranian Peoples: Mithraism, (event 991), Saturday October 8, 9:40 – 11:05.

Back to Top of Page

New York Theater Trip Garners Rave Reviews

By Norma Jean Reck, Board Member and Theater Lovers Club Chair

On a clear day, you can see boats traversing the harbor, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and straight across New Jersey all the way to the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania from the 102nd floor of One World Observatory, located at One World Trade Center in Manhattan. At ground level, scores of visitors quietly lined the wall that surrounds the reflecting pool and on which the names of the 9/11 victims are inscribed. Friendly security personnel patiently answer the visitors’ many questions.

Broadway, true to tradition, never ceases to amaze. On our way to dinner and the theater, we were beset by Elsa and Olaf, from the movie Frozen, who insisted on snapping a photo with us—for a slight fee, of course (photo shows Olaf, Norma Reck, Julia Adams, and Elsa). Competing for attention, a show-stopping duo—two young ladies dressed (well, almost) in patriotic red, white, and blue bikinis (with bare bottoms artistically initialed with a blue N and Y) —happily posed for selfies. Only in New York!

The performance of American in Paris on Tuesday night was absolutely fabulous—the music, the ballet, the moving sets so perfectly synchronized were mesmerizing. Hearing the old tunes made you want to sing and dance along.

On Wednesday afternoon, OLLI members, along with Welcome Club ladies and Shillelagh members, attended the matinee of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s latest hit School of Rock. The kids were truly awesome and professional performers. They sing, dance, act, and play instruments almost as big as they are.

We all unanimously pronounced Olli’s first overnight theater bus trip (August 23-24) a smash hit and are eagerly looking forward to a repeat performance.

Back to Top of Page

Back to OLLI Event in Loudoun
By Leigh Knox, Loudoun Site AssistantKick-off fall term with a Back to OLLI event at the Loudoun campus on Friday, September 16, from 10:00 3:00. You may attend the OLLI board meeting, get reacquainted with fellow OLLI members during a Coffee and Conversation hour, attend Dr. Peter Stearns’ presentation on The Status of Fear in the United States, pick up your parking permit, have your photo taken for your Mason ID, and acquire information on OLLI volunteer opportunities.Schedule of Events:
– 9:30 – 10:30: Mason Staff will be available to issue parking permits. Everyone who is registered for a class at Loudoun will need a new parking permit. The new parking permits will be valid for the entire academic year from September 1, 2016 August 31, 2017. If you have a Mason number (G#), but still need to have your photo taken for your Mason ID card, you may get that done also.
– 10:00 – 12:00: Videoconference of OLLI September board meeting in room 209.
– 12:00 – 1:00: Coffee and Conversation. Bring a friend! OLLI volunteers will be ready to share information about all that OLLI has to offer. Rita Rowand, from George Mason University, will be on hand with information on Mason cultural tours. Enjoy refreshments and socializing during the Coffee and Conversation hour. You may also pick up your parking permit or ID photo taken at this time.
– 1:00 – 2:30: Dr. Peter Stearns presentation. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Stearns, University Professor at George Mason University, who will be discussing The Status of Fear in the United States (event 960). Dr. Stearns’ presentation will take place at Tallwood, with simultaneous video teleconferencing to Loudoun in room 209.
– 2:30 – 3:00: Pick up parking permit and have ID photos taken.

Back to Top of Page

A Special History Club Meeting

By Beth Lambert, History Club coordinator

The first meeting of the 2016-17 year will take place this coming Wednesday, September 21 at 2:15 in TA1. Don Ferrett, a regular history club contributor, will give a presentation on “The Battle of Okinawa: An Overview With A Personal Touch.” Don will describe the who, what, when, where, why, and how of this last major battle of World War II and why the outcome of the battle still holds relevance today. Both his father and his father-in-law participated in this battle, and Don will have many photos taken by his father-in-law that will be shown for the first time outside the family.


All OLLI members are welcomed at History Club meetings. Our presentations are informative and the discussions lively.


The History Club usually meets on the first Wednesday of the month; this September meeting is an exception. The next meeting is November 2.

Back to Top of Page

Evolution of Civil Rights in the U.S.

By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate/Registrar 

Camille Hodges, Humanities and Social Sciences Planning Group Co-Chair

OLLI is working with resources provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to provide an outstanding series of classes during the fall term on the history and future of the civil rights movement in the United States.

The class, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” uses NEH videos, materials, and guided discussions to reflect upon the ideals of freedom and equality, and how they have bridged racial and cultural divides in the U.S. over the decades.  Participants will examine selected historical civil rights events from the abolitionist movement to “Freedom Summer” as well as discuss more contemporary civic and social issues.

George Mason University professors, an OLLI member, and a representative from the civil rights movement will lead the eight-session course. Of note, Freedom Rider and non-violent activist Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland will share reflections on her 1961 Freedom Ride from New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi, on the Illinois Central Railroad.  Presidents of the local chapters of the NAACP will also offer their views on the future direction of civil rights in the U.S.

“Created Equal” was developed by the NEH to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. For more information about the program, visit the NEH website.

This class is sponsored by the OLLI Humanities and Social Sciences Committee co-chaired by Camille Hodges and Johnnie Hicks. The course will run on Wednesday mornings from 9:40-11:15 at the Church of the Good Shepherd from September 21 through November 9. Reserve your spot in this important course, F654, via the member portal.

My Life in Books – Looking for Presenters

By Steve Greenhouse, OLLI Member and Instructor

Nancy Scheeler, Board Member
We’re looking for presenters for “My Life in Books.” This class would allow us to share some of our intellectual development over time with our fellow OLLI members. If that sounds too pretentious, let’s just call it “What’s on My Bookshelf and Why.”As OLLI members who take life-long learning seriously, some of us have zeroed in on certain types of books, making ourselves into experts on either the category or the subject matter or both. Or, we may just plain find these books enjoyable to read. That’s another dimension of one’s life in books.What type (genre) of books/authors do you tend to read the most?
  • What are your favorite books/authors in this genre? Why?
    • Compelling writing style?
    • Gives me pleasure?
    • Effective use of various literary devices?
    • Breadth of research?
    • Accessibility?
  • If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
  • What would you say to your fellow OLLI members in the way of recommending that they read these books/authors?

We are putting together a course for the Reston OLLI campus during the Spring Term 2017. We are looking for OLLI members who would like to share their lives in books by answering some of the foregoing questions. We’re thinking two presenters for each session (about 40 min per presentation) and 4-8 sessions.

Please contact Steve or Nancy if you would like to participate.

Back to Top of Page

Photo of the Month

The September Photo of the Month theme was “Open” (i.e., unspecified). Attending Photo Club members selected Ed Marion’s photo “Tivoli Thrills” which may be viewed in various sizes at this page. To view other photos by members of the Photography Club, visit the Club’s website.
By Angela Talaber, Photography Club Coordinator

Back to Top of Page

Member Achievement


Elizabeth Ticknor has just published her fourth book since joining OLLI. It’s called Loose Threads, a Mystery, and the back-cover description says “In Loose Threads, a Mystery, Lil and David, retired CIA operatives living in the quiet coastal town of Lewes, Delaware, use their operational skills to help their friend and neighbor, Ruth, track and apprehend two murderers. They pursue their instincts to trap the killers, following their trail to Ecuador, Alaska, Arizona and Nevada.”


The book is available at Amazon and, in paperback, Kindle, or Nook.

Back to Top of Page

Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor from Susanne Zumbro

This letter is submitted in support of Dan Feighery’s recent Letter to the Editor concerning the OLLI dues increase.

I hear many OLLI members voicing similar concerns. In his response to Dan, President Ray Berry states that the dues increase is necessitated by higher costs of renting and staffing off site classes. Ironically, many members, especially long term members, would prefer NOT to go off site. The push during the past two years to avoid wait-listing by moving so many classes to larger ‘classrooms’ off site has often resulted in a lower-quality experience and members refusing to attend such classes.

OLLI has always been so much more than a wonderful learning opportunity. It has also provided social spaces for senior adults to come together, make new friends, share new ideas, enrich their lives—much easier to do at any of our major single sites like Tallwood, Reston and Sterling. What a shame if we lose sight of those benefits when we scatter our classes around the county. I signed up for seven Fairfax classes for this coming term and all but one of those have been moved off site.

It is time for the Board to reexamine its policy of sending so many classes off site. Thank you.


Susanne Zumbro

Response from Ray Beery, OLLI President

Hey, Susanne!

Thanks for taking the time to write us with your strong and valid thoughts. I value your many contributions and your membership highly; your suggestion cries out for Board debate.

In my view, we really don’t have a good sense of the membership on some of these points. The board held a retreat last month to discuss OLLI goals. One proposal, which I wholeheartedly endorse, is to take a survey of the membership very soon. When we do that, and find a consensus on cost-saving measures, you can be assured that I will work hard to follow through. I invite you to craft a few questions for the survey.

Another goal that I am pushing is to find one offsite location (commercial office space, hopefully financed by a grant-in-kind) where we can have four classrooms, a like number of offices, a social center, storage and parking. That would replace the three church locations near Tallwood.

What about growth? Personally, I do not insist on growth but I expect it to happen, following our historic trend.  What I do insist on is informing the senior community of our region on OLLI and its benefits. I am guided by the wisdom of member Audrey Markham Sullivan. She is the founder of the Widowed Persons Service, where she pushes joining OLLI. Her testimonial always includes quoting one or more who have revealed that, “OLLI saved my life.”

Come to the Board meetings and keep up the pressure, please, Susanne.

Cordially,   Ray Beery, OLLI President

# # # # #

Letter to the Editor from Karen Gentemann

RE: the letter to the editor from Dan Feighery about rising membership costs. 

Mr. Feighery mentions the Lifetime Learning Institute of NOVA and its decidedly lower cost. I was surprised to hear that NOVA had such a program and began to wonder why in the world we have two neighboring institutions sponsoring very similar programs. Has there ever been any discussion to see if OLLI and LLI/NV could at least cooperate if not merge programs?

I’m relatively new to OLLI, so this issue may have been beaten to death some time ago. But it seems like an idea worth raising.

Karen Gentemann, PhD
Retired, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
George Mason University

Response from Jennifer Disano, OLLI Executive Director

Greetings, Karen,
Thank you for your letter, and a special thanks to Dan Feighery for his letter as well. Open discourse on Board decisions, OLLI operations, and future projects is always encouraged, and I am glad to respond to OLLI member ideas and inquiries.

In Northern Virginia, retirees have an assortment of alternative organizations to choose from when “shopping” for their ideal lifelong learning retirement experience. Along with institutes of higher learning, civic recreation centers, and many area churches, synagogues and other religious organizations provide lectures and social opportunities; and some are even free! With the influx of baby boomer retirees, services for this group have expanded and the community is responding with great options for all. Dan’s reference to the Lifetime Learning Institute of NOVA as an option for area retirees to enjoy lectures and social engagement at a lower cost, is correct, however, the program design and volume differ. And this is true of all LLI programs, even among OLLI programs nationally. They are all different, all have unique fee structures. Some pay instructors, some pay for parking, some are part of continuing education at their host universities, and some are independent 501c3 organizations, like we are.

So why choose OLLI Mason? Part of the answer is longevity; OLLI Mason has been around now for 25 years so, we’ve been at this a while, and our program shines from our experience. Our proximity to, and excellent relationship with George Mason University provide talent and resources, unique among lifelong learning programs. Our fee structures are quite reasonable when you look deep…over 500 programs a year, open 4 terms plus between term events, no per/class fees, and free parking…it’s quite a deal.

With regard to collaborations with the other entities, we actually do this to some degree, while always preserving our desire for independence and autonomy of operations. Our sister organization ENCORE at George Mason University in Arlington was established with great assistance from OLLI Mason ten years ago, and last year OLLI Mason assisted LLI at Virginia Tech and LLI at Rappahannock in advising on best practices to run and establish their programs. In Fairfax, Loudoun, and Reston, OLLI collaborates with area agencies from the county, recreation centers, and area religious entities to bring programs to the public in exchange for venues. Indeed, we’re always open to discussions for advancing our program and building relationships with our companions in service to the goal of providing lifelong learning to everyone.

Jennifer Disano, Executive Director

Back to Top of Page

Poet’s Corner
Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Only in New York City

Two on a Central Park bench:
A blind man and a kindly mench,
Who gave a matzoh to the blind
Thinking to be thanked in kind,
But got, “This doesn’t make any sense.”

Mike Mc Namara

Back to Top of Page

Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, next ten days
By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff WriterFor tickets for either Center for the Arts (CFA) or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue’s box office. For more information, see the CFA ticket page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.

At the Fairfax Campus Venues
Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Fiesta!
Sun, Sep 18, 7:00
Concert Hall
Admission: $42, $36, $25.
ARTS by George!
Sat, Sep 24, 5:00, concert, 8:00
An Evening Like No Other!
Join us for a benefit in support of student scholarships at George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Great Performances at Mason season at the Center for the Arts. The evening begins by showcasing the remarkable talents of Mason students amid an array of spectacular food and beverages, and culminates in the Concert Hall when the stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys take the stage in this high-octane show, performing many of your all-time favorites from the 1960s.
Center for the Arts
Admission: $275 (all events and refreshments); $100, $85, $60 (concert only).

Back to Top of Page

Mason Student & Faculty Performances
(see for additional student recitals)

Grand Piano Celebration
Sun, Sep 18, 3:00
Featuring the artistry of Dr. Linda Apple Monson, pianist, in collaboration with Mason faculty colleagues:
Dr. Anna Balakerskaia, pianist
Prof. Lisa Berger, soprano
Prof. Seong Won Nam, tenor
Guest Artist Zino Bogachek, violin
and outstanding student piano artists.
Proceeds support student scholarships for Mason’s School of Music.
Concert Hall
Admission: Adults, $20; seniors, $15.


Back to Top of Page

At the Hylton Center

Courtney Shelton Solo Exhibition, Best in Show,
Honoring the Future: Climate Art & Action
Aug 29–Oct  2
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery
This exhibition presents photographs of the work of pioneers who are using art as a catalyst for creative solutions to climate change. The Gallery is open to the public Tue–Sat, 10:00–6:00, Thu, 10:00–8:00 and two hours before performances.

Admission: Free.

Arts Alive! 2016
Sat, Sep 17, 12:00
Featuring Arts Council members and other community performers and fine artists. Multiple stages of performances indoors and out, plus food and craft vendors.
Hylton Center
Admission: Free.

The Capitol Steps: What to Expect When You’re Electing
Sun, Sep 18, 7:00
Pre-performance discussion: Member of the company.
Merchant Hall
Admission: $46, $39, $28.


Back to Top of Page

For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

Back to Top of Page

Meetings & Clubs

The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming 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, kickoff coffees, etc. (bolded below).

Sat Sep 17 10:30am
Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Computer Club–TA-1
Wed Sep 21 10:00am
Bridge Club–TA-3
Mah Jongg Club–TA-2
History Club–TA-1
Fri Sep 23  9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Travel Club–TA-2
Craft and Conversation–Annex
Classic Literature Club–TA-2
Homer, etc–Annex
Photography Club–TA-3
Religious Studies Club–TA-2
Sat Sep 24 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Wed Sep 28  1:30pm
Religious Studies Planning Group–Annex
Bridge Club–TA-3
Spanish Club–TA-2
Fri Sep 30  9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Craft and Conversation–Annex
Classic Literature Club–TA-2
Homer, etc–Annex

Back to Top of Page

About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.

Editorial Staff
Chief Editor: Paul Van Hemel
Technical Editor: Irene Osterman
Associate Editor: Sheri Siesseger
Weekly Editorial Team: Jean Boltz, John Nash, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere,
Paul Van Hemel 

Proofreaders: Rebecca Jann, Lorna Moran, Marilyn O’Brien, Susan Van Hemel
Backup Chief Editor: Alice Slayton Clark

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:
Deadline – 6:00 Tuesday for that week’s issue (6:00 Monday for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words.
Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by “” without the quotes.

Back to Top of Page