A community of learners over 50

May, 2023 | Vol 3, No. 7


New Faces, New Partnerships, New Opportunities

Our membership campaign is in full swing with new faces appearing in our classes and activities.

Last month, I continued expanding OLLI's community reach. I was thrilled to meet with the USF Alumni Association, partner with Hillsborough County's Community Relations Office, and serve as guest speaker at the Carrollwood Women's Club.

Also, it was an honor to visit a few OLLI classes, where I was privileged to witness our awesome faculty in action and get a photo with one of OLLI's most devoted learners - THE Mary Ettinger! (See more about Mary in the Monthly Profile section below)


I truly believe May will bring lots of inviting social events and opportunities to build valuable relationships. The summer term is upon us and I'm excited about upcoming class offerings and our Open House.

I have been with OLLI for a lovely six months, and although I am still unearthing valuable information... it is all of YOU who are the real treasures!


Stay Curious.


May 5 - OLLI Annual Picnic

May 11 - Summer Open House

Jan. 31, 2024 - Membership Drive Competition ends.


We're Getting Together!

There's still time to sign up for OLLI’s Summer Open House coming up May 11.

The event offers an opportunity to enjoy coffee, conversation, and community with other OLLI members. You’ll also be able to meet our instructors and representatives of our SIGs and find out what’s coming up in our community of older learners. 

Date: Thursday, May 11 

Time: A new member orientation begins at 9:15 a.m., followed by the Open House at 10 a.m. 

Location: Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, 200 Inverness Ave., in Temple Terrace.

We are proud to present Keynote Speaker Howard Kerner, MA, who will discuss History: Why Don’t We Know the Names of the Good? 

We are well aware of the names of evildoers throughout history but not the names of the good people. Howard Kerner’s passion project is researching and sharing uplifting and inspiring stories of human goodness during the Holocaust.

During his presentation, you'll hear surprising stories of human goodness. And we'll consider how we can look for, practice and celebrate more goodness in our own lives. 

Howard Kerner taught English, communications and humanities at the high school and university levels for 47 years. He has published hundreds of articles and created and taught courses on interpersonal relationships and on the Holocaust. 

You can register on line by visiting www.usfseniors.org and clicking on the Open House image. Or you can email olli-inquiries@usf.edu. Or call 813-974-5848


Win This Book At The 

Summer Open House 

The winner will be chosen from those who complete and submit the OLLI Travel Committee’s Bucket List Trip Survey at the Open House.

Once again, the OLLI Travel Committee wants you to tell us where to go!

During the upcoming OLLI-USF Open House, you are invited to complete a brief survey telling us about your ideal bucket list trip, as well as other special adventures you’d like to enjoy in the company of other OLLI travelers at affordable group rates. 

Pick up your survey form when you arrive at the Open House on May 11, complete the survey while you’re there, and return it to a member of the OLLI Travel Committee before you leave. The winner of the book will be chosen from those who completed and returned the surveys.


Journeys of a Lifetime is a spectacular introduction to 500 of the world’s greatest trips, compiled by National Geographic in a second edition with updated descriptions and new destinations. Featuring eye-catching photography and compelling descriptions in a 9”x 12” hardcover format, the book is certain to find a spot among your favorite travel guides.


Stay Safe: Read This Article

We all do it: we go to MacDonald’s for a snack or coffee and then sit there and use the restaurant's Wi-Fi. Same for the airport as we await our flights.

If you do not have unlimited data, turning off Wi-Fi and using cellular may not be an option. Or using cellular in the building may not be possible. So your only option may be public Wi-Fi.

We know hacking via public Wi-Fi is a 24/7 occurrence all over the world, but have you ever thought about whether public Wi-Fi is safe? I recently read an article on public Wi-Fi safety and want to share the information with all of our members. I have annotated the article and added links and additional information which could help make your use of public Wi-Fi safer. Click here for the article, and be sure to watch the 3.5 minute video within.

See if you agree.

---Jeanne Dyer, OLLI's Technology Director


Thank you to the following OLLI Advisory Board members whose terms are coming to an end. We appreciate their many contributions and are grateful for their dedication and service:

·        Mike Viren, served as elected board member at large since 2019, and

    served as board chair.

·        Bruce Shanker, served as elected board member at large since 2020

·        Arlene Zimney, served as elected board member at large since 2020,

    served as board secretary.

·        Robyn Cheung, served as elected board member at large since 2021.

·        Diane Russell, Volunteer Management Committee co-chair since 2019

. Stephen Specter, Development Committee chair, served since 2021

·       Judith Page Lieberman, Program Planning Committee co-chair,

    served since 2021

·        Kathy Palmer, SIG liaison, served since 2022.


Hello OLLI Members!

Get ready! May is a big month to gather in person at three special events: the Volunteer Recognition Breakfast, the Summer Open House, and the OLLI Picnic. We will celebrate volunteers, introduce new OLLI instructors, vote on leadership positions and socialize over food, fun, and games at an old-fashioned picnic in the park. This is our opportunity to get to know more about you.  


OLLI 2K Membership Drive: Grab your contacts list and ask yourself: who among your friends and acquaintances would love OLLI?  Encourage friends living in Pasco County, to catch the OLLI North May 31 deadline. Join for one or three years and get two free classes from the summer or fall catalog. 

OLLI Board Of Advisor Members: May is your month to shine.

Set an example for all of us by tapping your digital rolodex! Bring in the most new members and you win a special gift card. 


Membership Profiles: Members with 20-plus years in OLLI have

stories to tell about what lifelong learning has meant to them. Are you willing to share that story with us in an upcoming mini-profile in this newsletter? Let us know if you’re interested. Email Pam Tyler or call/text her at 575-779-1382.


Board Games Anyone?

The Board Games SIG is meeting again after a long, pandemic-driven hiatus. 


Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at various libraries in the Tampa area.


The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, at Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa.


Bring your favorite board or card game, or just bring yourself, and enjoy meeting up with old friends and making new ones.


To RSVP, email Robyn Cheung, or call 215-880-9212.

Lunch At Luis's

Luis’s Garden Grill Café in Tampa was the location chosen by Conviviality and Celebrations for their April luncheon.


The group of OLLI members and guests meets for lunch on the fourth Wednesday of each month at various eateries in the Tampa Bay area to celebrate and recognize birthdays and other special occasions.

The next luncheon will be on Wed., May 24, at 1 p.m., at Longhorn Steakhouse, 2110 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. 

All OLLI members and guests are welcome to join in the fun. Contact Kat Hanscom for further information.

Touring Tampa Bay

Twenty-two members of the OLLI Outdoors SIG took off by boat from the foot of the St. Pete Pier on Apr. 29 for a private tour of Tampa Bay provided by the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center.

During this 90-minute eco-tour, OLLI members learned about the rich plant and animal life within and along this important waterway. They spotted dolphins and numerous seabirds and watched as the crew performed a research-based fisheries trawl net pull, which gently brought up a mix of native fish and invertebrate species for participants to examine.

Tampa Bay Watch in a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a healthy Tampa Bay watershed through community-driven restoration projects, educational programs, and outreach initiatives.

Click here to see more pictures from the eco tour.


What's A Cookout Without A Hot Dog!

People around the states enjoy eating plant-based dogs as well as meat hot dogs. However, it is not just the dog that people enjoy, but what goes on top of it. There is quite a variety of toppings for people to enjoy. Below are a few different combinations from various cities that make up an unbelievably delicious dog. Please read the list and then take the just-for-fun poll to pick which one comes close to your preference of dressing your dogs.

Chicago Style - loaded with mustard, pickle spears, chopped onions, relish, tomato, pickled peppers, and celery salt - but no ketchup!

Jersey Style - topped with peppers, onions and fried potatoes.

Cincinnati - piled with chili, diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese.

New York - mustard, sauerkraut and onions cooked in ketchup.

Coney Island - a heaping scoop of chili and, if desired, a little mustard and onion.

Atlanta - a dog covered with chili and slathered with a spoonful of creamy, crunchy coleslaw.

Phoenix - a dog wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans, tomatoes and onions. Then choose your final layer of mayo, mustard or salsa. 


Next month we will reveal which is "top dog".


Meet Mary Ettinger:

A Long, Winding Road Brought Her To OLLI

Olli is an organization largely run by volunteers. But behind the scenes is a small cadre of professional staff under the leadership of Director Veronica Maxwell who help keep the organization running and on track. OLLILife is happy to introduce you to those staff members.

On August 15, Mary Ettinger will celebrate a most auspicious anniversary - 20 years as a member of the OLLI staff.

Mary joined the staff in 2003 as a part-time secretary-typist, working 20 hours a week under the direction of Ara Rogers. At the time the department was still the USF Division of Senior Programs.

Two years later, it became OLLI-USF and began steadily growing, and Mary’s role began to change. As the program got bigger and more complex, Mary took part in helping to develop and support its activities.

Among her jobs was maintaining the OLLI calendar and assisting the efforts of the full-time staff. She was delighted as new classes were offered, new Shared Interest Groups were formed, and new activities were organized. Only problem was, she had little time to participate in any of it.

So a few years ago, Mary decided to step back. Today, she still maintains the calendar and provides other support, but now for only four hours a week.

As a staff member and an OLLI member, Mary is one of the organization’s biggest fans. She figures she averages about 10 classes per semester, and she’s an enthusiastic member of the OLLI Outdoors and Food! Glorious Food! SIGS.

Many Hats, Many Places

Mary is not only adept at secretarial skills. She’s also a medical technologist, a registered nurse, and a former newspaper reporter. She has lived and worked in Europe, India, and around the U.S.

Mary comes from a medical family: her father was a physician practicing internal medicine and her mother was a medical technologist. Growing up in Ft. Lauderdale with a brother and two sisters, Mary planned to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Which she did – for a while.

She graduated from college with a degree in medical technology. That was followed by a job in the field. But after a year of working, she got restless. She wanted to learn a new language and see the world. So off she went to Germany.

“My mother’s heritage is German, and I wanted to learn the language, so I went to school there.” Mary says. “There were about 100 people about my age from all over the world at the school. We had to talk to each other in German.”

While there, she got to see the Winter Olympics, which was occurring in Germany. After two months, she moved to northern Germany where she took a medical technologist job in a hospital lab. Later, she moved to Switzerland followed by a stay in Spain. Then there were the side trips around Europe. She visited Gibraltar and went to the Casbah.

From Nursing To Journalism

After about a year, it was time to come home. For a while, she worked as a medical technologist in Atlanta and then in Boston. Eventually she decided to take her education further and earn a master’s degree in nursing, a choice that brought her to Gainesville, Florida.

While earning her degree, she met her husband, settled down and had two children, a boy and a girl. The couple later moved to Stuart. That’s when she started her journalism career.

“I got a job as a secretary to an editor with the Stuart News. Another woman had taken a job the same day to write obituaries. She didn’t like it, and I didn’t like being a secretary. So we switched,” Mary says.

It was her attendance as a parent at a school board meeting that got her into news reporting, she says. “Something interesting happened at the meeting, so I took a picture and wrote an article. It ended up on the front page,” she says.

That led to a job as a features writer. Among her articles were interviews of Hollywood stars Farrah Fawcett and Burt Reynolds.

Mary had one more exotic trip to make during this time – a one-week spiritual retreat at an ashram in India. It was a place that brought people from all over the world seeking enlightenment and inner peace.

“I did it for the adventure of it,” she says. “A friend of mine had been there several times and was going again. It sounded fascinating and I wanted to see what it was like."

Moving To Tampa

The birth of her grandson in 2001 brought Mary to Tampa. Divorced from her husband, she moved here to help her daughter with that baby and later a granddaughter. She has been here ever since.

In between helping her daughter, Mary took a couple of classes through USF Senior Programs. Then the part-time job came along. Later, she remarried and spent 14 years with her husband until he passed away over a year ago.

Today, Mary is enjoying her job and her role in OLLI’s success.

“I can’t have asked for anything more,” she says. “The people I work with are fascinating, loving, wonderful people. I loved working with Ara, and now we have Veronica! It’s wonderful knowing so much about OLLI and being a part of it. It’s a wonderful institution.”

-- Sandy Buckley


Volunteers Needed

The Membership Committee needs volunteers for the following one-to-two-day short-term projects:

. Immediate need: Catalog distribution

. Welcome phone calls (script provided)

. May 11 - Open House registration assistance

Email Pam Tyler or call/text her at 575-779-1382 for more information.   

You are invited to discuss


The Community of Readers and Writers is inviting you to join in a discussion over Zoom of "Airborne," a short funny story by Margaret Atwood from her newly published collection that asks the question, “What is so fascinating about women who deny the laws of gravity?"


During this discussion, you'll learn about the versatility of the free Kindle app for book discussions and how to download your own computer files for reading, study, highlighting, taking notes, and printing.


To join in the discussion with our Shared Interest Group, email readersandwriters@aol.com for a lively event with handouts of Kindle instructions and the Atwood short story.

OLLI RIT's Lunchtime Lecture Series

OLLI at the Rochester Institute of Technology is sharing its Thursday free lunchtime lecture series (12:15 ET) for anyone who is interested.

Many of the lectures this term are about the Rochester area, along with others that might interest you, such as Healthy Aging Through Lifestyle Medicine and Tutankhamun: Documenting the Discovery of the Century.

All lectures and registration forms can be located here.

Want To Do More, Feel Better?

Are you experiencing depressive symptoms – maybe feeling sad or just not feeling like your usual self? Or do you know someone like that?

If so. USF's Do More, Feel Better program, may be able to help. It focuses on older adults through a nine-week program in which clients meet weekly with a trained coach or licensed clinician to choose and plan activities that might help to boost their mood. It is free, and clients can earn up to $130 for completing research interviews about the program.

Most visits are being conducted using Zoom, but clients can participate by phone or go in-person to select senior centers. The program will be available in Spanish soon (later spring 2023). Feedback from clients so far has been very positive!

For more information, call the team at 813-974-3576 or email domorefeelbetter@usf.edu.


Operatunity: An Idea Waiting To Happen

Operatunity began before it was evident. Here's the story:

Growing up in the New Orleans area, I was exposed to the richness all around in the food, the fun and the music, particularly opera. Since Mother was a singer, she was my first musical mentor and often played or sang opera at home.

When I decided to actually experience operas live, I was teaching in Dallas and would invite different colleagues to join me. I also began taking opera classes at Southern Methodist University and at the Dallas Opera to learn more, eventually volunteering just to be in that world. Eventually, I learned about and became a supernumerary, or extra, in several operas.

When I moved to Philadelphia in 1984, I loved volunteering as well as serving as a super in addition to periodically going to New York to the American Opera Mecca, the Metropolitan Opera! 

Travel opportunities provided further operatic delights domestically in such places as Santa Fe, New York and Philadelphia, plus in many parts of the world such as London and Paris. I even had the unexpected delight of happening upon a Wagner festival during a visit to Melbourne, Australia.

How the Operatunity SIG began

In 2014, I retired and moved to Tampa. OLLI became my portal into this new community. Given that we OLLI members learn with and from one another, I was delighted to share my love of opera via a course titled Getting to Know Opera.

It was so much fun to explore opera's intriguing history and to focus on its many dynamics that we decided to continue as a SIG, called Operatunity. Five years later, those new to opera as well as the more seasoned opera fans continue to enjoy learning about opera and socializing in the process. For example, we love to explore the many themes that any good work of literature contains, connect dots of historical relevance and pursue other ways that enrich us from the rich experience of opera. 

In 2018, we decided that although we were taking a break from meetings, we still wanted to be experiencing opera. So, we decided to meet one Saturday for an opera and brunch. The host decided to do the opera Carmen (via a DVD from the library) and we all brought Spanish-oriented food to enjoy.

When the Met mounted a new (Wagner) Ring Cycle, we decided to study via Saturday Salons again. It was wonderful to experience the entire four to six hours of each opera with breaks for lunch and dessert in between. 

In one of our meetings, a member's brother was a guest speaker/singer. It was especially interesting to learn that he’s actually a rocket scientist who also loves to sing, as he does in his local opera company. 

COVID introduced all of us to Zoom. Unexpectedly, it became an opportunity to broaden our geographical reach. In one meeting, we spent the entire time interviewing a friend, Margo, a stage manager at the Met.

Operatunity meets monthly (on the fourth Monday) mostly to help members focus on the live Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee broadcasts in local movie theaters. Our next meeting is May 22, from 10 a.m. to noon at the UCCT Church,11400 Morris Bridge Road in Tampa, when we will be preparing to experience The Magic Flute by Mozart on June 3 and reviewing two recent operas, Don Giovanni and Champion.

You are welcome to email Beryl for information or comment.

---Beryl Byles

OLLI Welcomes Our New SIG Liaison


Welcome to Nancy Baily-Williamson who will assume the role of SIG Liaison on May 1.


Nancy is an enthusiastic advocate for the SIGs. She has assisted with SIG liaison duties for the last year and helped with the annual SIG Leaders Appreciation Event.

Nancy is also an active and respected member of OLLI’s Catalog Team. 

Email Nancy with questions about our SIGs or if you are interested in forming a new SIG.


Welcome and congratulations, Nancy. 

SIGnificant EVENTS FOR MAY 2023

Nancy Baily-Williamson, SIG Liaison

For more information on OLLI SIGs, see the full list here. Several of the SIGs meet on Zoom; others are meeting in person and are organizing group outings and events. To visit a SIG, email the contact(s) below.

Community of Readers and Writers

See our article in the Opportunities section about our upcoming event. For further information about this SIG, email readersandwriters@aol.com.

China SIG

For more information about the China SIG, email Nancy Stuart.

Food, Glorious Food!

In May we are focusing on learning more about the relationship between food and wine. We are pleased to have USF Professor of Anthropology Kevin Yelvington join us for a presentation/discussion of wine and tourism, both topics of interest to OLLI members. Our meeting will be Mon., May 22 at 10 a.m. If you are not a SIG member but would like to join in for this special talk, contact Jane Applegate.

Hablemos! Spanish Conversation SIG

Zoom Meetings: Tues., May 2 and 16, from 3 until 4:30 p.m. All levels of Spanish speakers welcome. Email olli.hablemos@gmail.com for more information.

Games SIG

Online Games: Thurs., May 11, at 3:30 p.m. To play Scattergories, email Kathy Palmer for the link.

Board Games:

Thurs., May 18, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. Email Robyn Cheung for more information.

German Conversation

Tues., May 9 and 23, at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Christine Basch.

Ici on parle français!

Mon., May 1 and 15, at 1 p.m. For an invitation, contact Theresa Sokol.

OLLI Outdoors

Do you love the outdoors?

Our events include hiking, walking, biking, paddling and online programs. Interested in trying an event or joining? Email the friendly OLLI Outdoors SIG coordinators at ollioutdoors@gmail.com for information about these and other great events.

Mon., May 8 - Bike ride, Flatwoods Conservation Park

Wed., May 10 - Gator Crawl and end of year Potluck Picnic at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park


The next meeting will be at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa (UUCT) on Mon., May 22, at 10 a.m. For details and more information about this SIG, contact Derrie Perez.

Politics SIG

P-SIG will not be meeting in May. We will resume our normal schedule in June. Email Doug Dallio for more information.


The Shutterbugs May outing will be held at beautiful Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg, on Wed., May 24 at 10 a.m. Lunch to follow at Carrabba's right next door. For more details, please contact Jean Nixon. We look forward to seeing you!

Write Time for Poets

Thurs., May 11, at 2 p.m. For more information, email Cath Mason.

Talking Movies

Fri., May 19, at 1:30 p.m. Watch a movie and then get together on Zoom to talk about it. Movie to be determined. For more information about this SIG, contact Arlene Zimney.

Carolyn Clark is our Goodwill Ambassador, sending notes of support, congratulations and comfort on our behalf. If you or another OLLI member have a significant personal event, please let Carolyn know.

Send Us Your News

OLLILife wants to share topics of interest that pertain to OLLI-USF and other OLLIs in the country.

Send your article to ollinewsusf@gmail.com to reach your editors Sandy Buckley, Pat Dodge, Veronica Maxwell, and Kathy Palmer. If possible, please send a picture along with the article as pictures help tell the story.

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