A community of learners over 50

March, 2023 | Vol 3, No. 5

St Patricks day


Hello Fabulous OLLILife Readers!

We are nearing the start of the spring season and all the beautiful changes it will bring. As I reflect upon last month, it's important to highlight the several community events attended by OLLI staff and members.

It was my esteemed pleasure to set up a table at the Northdale OWLS (Older, Wiser, Lively Seniors) monthly meeting, where I was joined by OLLI members Don Clark, Kat Hanscom, and others.

OLLI staffer Charise Dixie and I enjoyed our time at the USF Black Faculty & Staff Welcome Breakfast. Additionally, I had the opportunity to join staff from the USF Office of the Provost in participating in the African American Read-In at Lomax Elementary. Connecting with our surrounding community is a prominent objective at the university and I am grateful to represent OLLI-USF in any environment.


As you might imagine, it is difficult to withhold good news...and I have some!

After many months of talking with you at OLLI classes, meetings, and events, it was evident that we want to add new faces to OLLI!! Therefore (drumroll please 🙂), I have decided to launch a membership campaign and attempt to reach our previous record number of members.

The theme of this effort is #OLLI2k, which reveals our goal of 2,000 total members. This number is 700 more than our current data reflects, and it is ambitious. But I believe that we can work on this goal together!

I will work with our Membership Committee to seek innovative strategies to reach this number. However, I am asking that each OLLI member secure one new member by the end of the campaign. 


The campaign starts Mar. 4 (march forth!) and ends Dec. 2. If we get even one new member, we will celebrate; but I have high hopes for us. Stay tuned.


On your mark, get set... let's march!!


Friday, Mar. 10 

  • Deadline for applying for Advisory Board position

  • Deadline for Volunteer Awards nominations


Meet Joseph McAuliffe:

From Wild Child To Man of God

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. Over the next few months, OLLILife will introduce you to those staff members.

Educational Programming Manager Joseph McAuliffe is the person behind OLLI-USF’s wonderful and varied arts and sciences classes and lectures. From the idea that an aspiring teacher may have to the actual meeting of teacher and students, Joseph is there to provide support and guidance.

His job entails everything from recruiting instructors and helping them formulate lesson plans to working with venues that provide the classroom location, and then to promoting those classes to OLLI members.

“My job is 100 percent support of the instructors,” Joseph explains. “I buoy them, communicate with them. I try to get to know every arts and science teacher and provide whatever resources and training they may need, so that they can have a great classroom experience.”

Joseph has also established relationships with five area retirement communities, which provide classroom space to OLLI at no charge and pay the annual membership dues for their residents. Among other benefits, it’s a major source of revenue for OLLI.

His Favorite Thing

But beyond his administrative role is the job Joseph relishes most: teaching. Since joining OLLI’s staff in 2002, Joseph has taught about 20 OLLI classes, mainly focusing on European history. He also teaches the topic as an adjunct for USF and Hillsborough Community College.

This summer he’ll be offering an OLLI class on 16th century European history.

“I love teaching. It’s probably my favorite thing in life other than my family,” Joseph says.


Joseph is the father of five children and grandfather of seven children. He’s an ordained minister, the founder of Tampa Covenant Church as well as churches in Ohio.

He’s also politically active. He’s worked on numerous political campaigns, including that of his brother Terry, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018. A framed photo of Joseph and former First Lady Hillary Clinton sits on his office bookshelf.

He’s a pillar of the community.

But it wasn’t always so.

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Joseph was a nice kid who loved to play sports and dreamed of singing in a rock n’ roll band. His Catholic school education gave him a solid religious foundation.

Then he went off to college in Bowling Green, Ohio, and everything changed, he says.


Joseph became part of the local hippie scene, with all that entailed. He was among the crowd at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. In his sophomore year, he traveled through Mexico, then through the western U.S., staying in hippie communes and native communities.

When he returned to school for his junior year, he was skipping school and his grades were suffering. He began to worry that he was too deeply embedded in the counterculture lifestyle.

Then, he met two friends, Christian missionaries, who turned him around, he says.

Serving God

“I was at a place in my life where I was starting to think about my life. I was feeling a need to have direction and meaning.” he says. “They talked to me about the meaning, the purpose of life. Through them, I fell in love with God and had the desire to know and serve God.”

The conversion was followed by a stint at a Christian training center in Mansfield, Ohio. Four months later, he was back in Bowling Green as an ordained minister.

His first sermon was at a local bar he once frequented. Then he began preaching on the college’s leafy campus. Then in the college chapel. Eventually, he established and became the pastor of Bowling Green Covenant Church.

He also went back to school, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in European history and married his college sweetheart.

In 1985, Joseph moved to Tampa to establish and lead Tampa Covenant Church.

Over the next 17 years, he served on Hillsborough County’s Children’s Services Board and the Florida District VI Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board. He published and edited the award-winning BusinessGram Newsletter and traveled the world as the Eastern European and Central American director of the International Church Relief Fund.

He was also a business and political commentator for two radio and television networks including the Christian Broadcasting Network. He even worked on Pat Robertson’s campaign in 1988 for the Republican presidential nomination. Raised in a staunchly Democratic family, however, the prodigal returned to the Democratic fold in the 1990s.

Helping OLLI Grow

In August 2002, tired of traveling and missing his wife and children, Joseph joined USF Senior Programs as its educational programs coordinator under the direction of Ara Rogers.

Three years later, the program became part of the national OLLI network. And with Joseph’s help, OLLI-USF has been growing ever more successful.

Now 72 years old, Joseph is enjoying his work and has no plans to retire anytime soon, he says.

“I really enjoy being here,” he says. “I find the work I do stimulating; I deeply admire the faculty, I love the staff that I work with, and the members are a joy to me.

"On any given day, I might talk to a scientist, an author, or a foreign policy expert. Not many people get to have that kind stimulating environment,” he says.

--Sandy Buckley


Who Me - Talk To Myself?

Perhaps you have heard people talking to themselves and wonder if there is something wrong with them. Or, maybe you talk to yourself and think why are you doing it? Then some just don’t talk to themselves (or at least don't think they do)! 

So let's do this “just for fun” poll on talking to yourself to find out how many of us like to gab with ourselves or just keep silent! Please just click on one answer.

Do You Talk To Yourself?
Sure do
Yes, and it's embarrassing
It's the only way I get to speak to someone with intelligence

Watch for the results on this "much talked about" topic poll in the April issue of OLLILife!


OLLI-USF and Premier World Discovery Presents: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Trip

Begins Oct. 6 - Six Days

Travel with us to the Land of Enchantment where you will enjoy New Mexico’s beautiful landscapes, history and architecture.

A highlight will be a visit to the world-famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival, the world’s largest hot air ballooning event. You will witness the Mass Ascension, which includes over 500 balloons taking to the skies and will have an opportunity to view the balloons up close and illuminated on solid ground during the Balloon Glow.

Enjoy three nights in Santa Fe. Founded in 1607, it is America’s oldest state capital city and the U.S.'s third oldest continuously inhabited city. This UNESCO-designated Creative City is renowned for its beauty and Pueblo-style architecture and for being one of the most important American art markets.

Other attractions include the Los Alamos Bradbury Museum, which tells the story of this isolated town and its role in the Manhattan Project. You’ll also see the Plaza, the Palace of the Governors and Loretto Chapel to learn of its unique and mysterious past. 

Please review the flyer and itinerary details here. Keep in mind that roundtrip airfare is included in the tour price. We hope you can join us on this incredible trip!

Amanda Speer from Premier World Discovery will be describing this tour and answering questions during a virtual presentation scheduled for Monday, Mar. 20, at 10 a.m.  Please register here to attend.


Getting to Know You

OLLI Director Veronica Maxwell met with a small group of recent OLLI members on Jan. 31 at a New Year’s social.

The highlight was Veronica’s talk about her background and the many opportunities that OLLI provides.

Guests enjoyed the chance to network in an intimate, relaxed setting. 


The luncheon was held at the Compton Park Clubhouse in Tampa Palms.

--Diane Russell

Oodles of Noodles!

It was hand-pulled noodles in soups and in stir-fried dishes for members of the Lunch Bunch, an offshoot of the Food! Glorious Food! SIG, as they met for lunch at LanZhou Lamen Noodle House on Feb. 16.

Lunch was followed by a short jaunt across the shopping center to Sweet Buns bakery for some yummy Chinese pastries.

A Taste of Thailand

Conviviality and Celebrations held their monthly luncheon recently at Jasmine Thai in the Carrollwood area. 


This group of OLLI members and guests samples a variety of cuisines at different local eateries on the fourth Wednesday of each month while celebrating and recognizing birthdays and other special occasions. All are welcome to join in the fun.


The next luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar. 22, at 1 p.m., at Cracker Barrel, 3125 Cove Bend Dr., Tampa. Email Kat Hanscom for details and more information.

In The Heart of Downtown: An Urban Farm

Members of the Food! Glorious Food! SIG got the chance to check out an actual farm within the city of Tampa on Feb. 20.

Over a dozen SIG members toured the two-acre, non-profit Meacham Urban Farm after first dining at the nearby Armature Works food hall.

Farm owner Joe Dalessio, three employees, and several volunteers help maintain the 75 chickens, one rooster, and over 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables grown there. Visitors can purchase the farm’s produce at its store on the property.

The farm is named after Christina Meacham, the principal of Hillsborough County’s first African-American school which had been located on the farm’s site.

The picture shows Joe describing the farm’s operations to OLLI members on the tour.


NEW for Spring 2023!

OLLI offers BOGO-50 for classes beginning in March and April!

Register for one class at the regular price, then you can register for a second class at half price. Can't beat this deal!

To register for this special, you MUST call Charise at 813-974-5848.

Your OLLI Board Needs You!

The OLLI Board of Advisors is an all-volunteer group of OLLI members who are committed to keeping OLLI-USF as a thriving organization. In these fluid times, we need your skills, creativity and energy more than ever!

The board nomination process is now open. As a board member, you have the opportunity to influence important issues such as:

  • How and where we market OLLI
  • Attracting new members and volunteers
  • Developing programs and attracting instructors
  • Raising funds
  • Managing our finances

These and other functions that support our director and staff are critical to OLLI’s success. If you or someone you know would like to serve on the board, please click here for an application and for more information.

The application deadline is Mar. 10.

---Arlene Zimney

Help Us Recognize Outstanding Volunteers


Our 250-plus volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization. Their efforts keep OLLI available and affordable for all of us.


Every year, OLLI-USF recognizes our outstanding volunteers with the following awards:


Award of Excellence, for an outstanding contribution to a one-time event or project

- Above and Beyond, for a significant contribution to an ongoing project

- Lifetime Achievement, for significant contributions to the growth and development of OLLI over the years

This year we will add a new award, Exemplary Teamwork Award, to acknowledge a significant contribution to OLLI by a team.


You can help us recognize outstanding volunteers by nominating them for an award. 


Nominations are reviewed and determined by members of our Volunteer Management Committee. 


The winners will be announced at the Volunteer Appreciation Event this spring. They will be celebrated on our Facebook page, profiled in OLLILife, and featured in our fall catalog.


The deadline for awards nominations is 5 p.m., Friday, Mar. 10.


Please click here to submit a Volunteer Awards nomination.

---Diane Russell

2022 Awards Recipients, (pictured left to right)

Dr. Susan Northcutt,

Lifetime Achievent Award;

Dr. Ara Rogers,

OLLI Director Emeritus;

Nancy Stuart,

Lifetime Achievement Award; Kathy Palmer,

Award of Excellence

Bruce Gobioff

2022 Above and Beyond Award

Board Games SIG is Back!

Bring your favorite games to our first meeting on Mar. 16.

Meetings will be held the third Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Mar. 16 and Apr. 20 meetings will be at Arthenia Joyner University Area Community Public Library, at 13619 N 22nd St., Tampa in Community Room A.

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

You're Invited:

OLLI Annual Picnic

Come out and join us for a picnic in the park! OLLI is excited to be bringing back their Annual Picnic!

Fri., May 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Carrollwood Village Park,

Shelter #2

4680 W Village Dr, Tampa 33624

Main entree to be provided.

Bring your favorite sides and desserts.

To RSVP, email Robyn Cheung,



How The Saturday Social Came To Be

A Little About Me

Since 2017, I have developed and presented over two dozen courses for OLLI-USF on presidential history, politics, and related topics.

What an honor, especially since I seriously thought about going into teaching when I was in college but was dissuaded by an older cousin. He was a wonderful teacher but warned me how difficult it was to raise a family on a teacher’s salary. To now have the opportunity to engage my unfulfilled vocation is a real joy (although my cousin was right about the pay!). 

Changes Due To COVID

In March 2020, we had one session remaining in my course at Compton Park on impeachment when COVID struck, and we were precluded from meeting in person. Luckily my business was developing computer software, and I was used to giving online demonstrations using GoToMeeting. Most of my class's 35 participants were able to get on their computers, and we finished the class online. 

The Saturday Social Is Born

Since we were locked down, I set up a “free for all” session the following Saturday, figuring that others who were cooped up might want to share their concerns and have something to do besides hearing bad news on TV or watching old movies for the umpteenth time. So, quite by accident, a new OLLI event took off.

Nearly every Saturday morning for the past three years, a group of OLLI members gathers via ZOOM for what we call the OLLI Saturday Social. I open the session at 9:30 a.m. when a small subset of the audience gathers for informal chitchat before the main event begins at 10.

One of the true joys of moderating this gathering is that I never know what topics we might wander into. Once, for example, someone mentioned credit card fraud in passing, and we were off and running for over an hour.

Around 10 a.m., most of the crowd shuffles in, and we swell from six or eight to anywhere from 30 to 40. We open with an exchange of personal news that anyone wants to share. Someone may be facing surgery or recovering from one, while others mention trips or share the arrival of friends (or grandchildren).

One of our regulars just became a great-grandmother twice in one week! And as the regulars know, I’m liable to throw in an update on my grandson’s budding tennis career. My apologies for boasting (but last week, at the age of 14, he reached the semi-finals of an 18-years-old and under tournament).

Before long, we generally move on to a wide-ranging discussion of the week's events. Recently Louise Kienast, one of our regulars, suggested adding a “breakout room” segment as a way of getting to know each other better, so at around 11 o' clock, we break into groups of five or six for about 15 minutes to make it easier to talk in small groups. While many people leave at noon, we often go into overtime since there’s so much to cover.

Bruce Shanker co-hosts and helps me keep track of raised hands and open mics. Kevin Chittim fills in to moderate when I’ve run out of gas or take a week off for travel, and I thank them both for their able assistance. 

Herding Cats

A relative newcomer recently emailed me and complimented me on doing a pretty good job of “herding cats.” If that’s what I’m doing, I consider it an honor and a privilege.

Mind you, these are highly educated cats who bring lifetimes of experience and a wealth of knowledge to every session. On practically every topic I throw out, someone has expertise or a point of view that adds depth to the conversation and helps keep us informed and thinking – just what OLLI is all about.

Give Us A Try

If you would like to give the Saturday Social a try, you can email me, and I’ll add you to our mailing list. You’ll get an email every Thursday or Friday with a link to the session, a list of possible topics and, sometimes, one or more articles that we might discuss. You can pop in for a while or stay for the whole session – in either case, we’d love to see you.

—-Rich Kennedy


Congratulations to our Newest Volunteers

Congratulations and welcome to our newest volunteers who attended the Volunteer Orientation and Information Session on Feb. 24.

Top row (left to right): new volunteer John Hartfield and Diane Russell, Volunteer Management Committee Co-chair; Bottom row: new volunteer Pam Seppelt


Kathy Palmer, SIG Liaison

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

Community of Readers and Writers

We meet via Zoom for discussion and special events. We offer group feedback with experienced readers and train newcomers in our supportive methods. Our private Facebook site is a diverse resource for developing your storytelling and literary skills. Email your interest to readersandwriters@aol.com.

China SIG

The China SIG will meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on Mon., Mar. 6. The location will be Lan Zhou Lamen Noodle House, 2716 E. Fowler Ave. Please RSVP to Nancy Stuart or Kun Shi. Come and share your ideas for future meetings.

Food, Glorious Food!

March is a month for food lovers to be out and about. There will be no Zoom meeting this month, but there will be two opportunities to gather and explore and taste new food options. Watch for the March "Food Notes" for details. (April will have two outstanding speaker meetings you won't want to miss.) For more information, email Jane Applegate.

Hablemos! Spanish Conversation SIG

Zoom Meetings: Tues., Mar 7 and 21, 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., Mar. 9, at 3:30 p.m. To play Scattergories, email Kathy Palmer for the link.

Board Games:

See above article in Opportunities section.

German Conversation

Tues., Mar. 14 and 28, at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Christine Basch.

Talking Movies

Fri., Mar. 17, 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.

Ici on parle français!

Mon., Mar. 6 and 20, 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 coordinators at ollioutdoors@gmail.com for information about these and other great events.

Thurs., Mar. 2 - Kayak/canoe, Chassahowitzka River

Thurs., Mar. 9 - Hike/beach walk, Honeymoon Island

Mon., Mar. 13 - Bike, Courtney Campbell Causeway

Wed., Mar. 15 - USF Tampa Campus Public Art Walking Tour, docent led

Sat., Mar. 18 - Hike, Fred and Ida Shultz Nature Preserve + lunch at local restaurant

Tues., Mar. 21 - Nature walk/hike, Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park + optional lunch at local restaurant - nature walking and hiking, something for all levels. RSVP to ollioutdoors@gmail.com

Fri., Mar. 24, 3 p.m. - Online program/social - Secrets of the Hillsborough River from Tampa History Museum.


For information about this SIG, conact Derrie Perez.

Politics SIG

The next meeting will be at Compton Park, Wed., Mar. 8, at 1 p.m. Email Doug Dallio for more information.


The Shutterbugs are planning our March outing for Wed., Mar. 15, at Tampa Bay Riverfront Park - one of Tampa's favorite places to visit! There are 2.6 miles of riverwalk to walk, take photos, or just enjoy being outdoors! We will meet at 9:30 a.m. for our photo walk and end with lunch at one of the local restaurants! For more details, please email Jean Nixon.

Write Time for Poets

Thurs., Mar. 9, at 2 p.m. For more information, email Cath Mason.


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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