As we remain in our OLLI Membership Campaign season, I want to encourage you to continue to spread the word about our wonderful organization.
I can’t tell you how elated I am when meeting a new member. They are generally full of excitement about a class or event. Help me welcome our new faces into the virtual classrooms, in-person lectures, SIG events, and everywhere else.
It was an honor to meet with Karen Holbrook (pictured with me), the regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee. She is aware of OLLI and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate in an effort to comply with the #ONEUSF mandate.
Finally, please join me in giving a huge thanks and official welcome to our newest OLLI-USF Advisory Board chair, Linda Feeney and members Nancy Baily Williamson, Kevin Chittim, Bruce Gobioff, Shirley Herring, George Hyde, Earl Richardson, Linda Tournade, Pam Tyler, Joan Weaving, and Diane White.
I can personally attest to the passion and dedication they all have toward ensuring our organization’s magnificent future!
The Volunteer Recognition Awards honor volunteers who have made significant contributions to the mission and values of OLLI-USF. In May, the awards were presented to four individuals and two teams. Over the next few months, OLLILife will introduce you to those award winners.
For most of his life, Joel Fyvolent has attended to the people in his community as a physician and as a teacher. As a physician specializing in digestive diseases and internal medicine, Joel spent decades attending to our community’s health. He also spent many years training young doctors as a clinical professor for USF.
But in his later years, he has brought his teaching skills to a more mature audience. Beginning with USF’s Learning in Retirement program and continuing through its successor, our own OLLI-USF, Joel has taught a total of 20 classes.
His classes reflect his love of literature, film, art, and all things Shakespeare. He has taught about the great poets, great books, and great artists, among many other topics.
Joel’s dedication to his students and his classes led to his presentation in May of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to people who make significant contributions to the growth and development of OLLI.
Reflections on Life
Joel lives in a spacious, two-story condo in South Tampa. Until recently, his collection of some 5,000 books filled the floor-to-ceiling shelves in his library and other rooms throughout the house. Beautiful and innovative works of art, many created by artists Joel knows personally, decorate his walls and flat surfaces.
Now, at 94 years old, he’s planning to move to a senior community where he’ll have a smaller place for his stuff. So with the help of friends, he’s been going through his collections, deciding what to keep and what to give away.
It’s led him to reflect on a long, productive life, one that began with his boyhood growing up on Davis Islands in small-town Tampa in the 1930s and ’40s.
A Knotty Problem
After graduating from Plant High School, Joel earned bachelor’s degrees in arts and in sciences from the University of Florida. Then it was time to apply to medical school. But back then, there were no medical schools in Florida, and World War II had just ended; the returning vets applying to med schools in the U.S. had priority.
That problem was to be solved in a most unique way.
A summer study group just after college graduation took Joel and 14 other American students to Europe where they studied economics and politics in post-war Portugal, Gibraltar, Italy, Switzerland, and Paris.
While in Europe, Joel applied and was accepted to the University of Lausanne medical school in Switzerland.
He spent the next five years studying medicine in Lausanne with side trips to Sweden and Italy to observe prominent physicians there. On his return to the U.S., he completed residencies in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Miami.
But home – and his parents – were beckoning him back to Tampa and Davis Islands. In a building just across from Tampa General Hospital, Joel established his medical practice.
There, he became a pioneer in medical education in Tampa.
Bringing Medical Training To Tampa
In the 1960s, plans were afoot to develop a medical school at USF. But before that would happen, Joel and a small group of physicians established a medical education program at Tampa General.
“There were about five or six students in the program,” Joel recalls. “I would leave my office and go across the street to Tampa General to see my patients with the students. I loved it,” he says.
That program came to an end in 1971, when USF opened its doors to its first class of medical students. Joel, the inveterate teacher, became a clinical professor for the school.
How He Came To OLLI
Now retired, Joel was on the USF campus one day when he ran into an acquaintance: Lee Leavengood, then the director of the school’s Learning in Retirement program.
“I went to USF and tried to decide what literature and Shakespeare classes to take,” Joel says. “Lee came up to me and asked what I was doing there. I said I was looking for something to do, that I wanted to audit a class.
“She said I should teach a class to Learning in Retirement students instead. I wondered, ‘how do I teach Shakespeare to adults?’” he says.
Joel found a way to do just that. And over the years, he has brought not only Shakespeare, but a variety of other topics into the lives of LIR and OLLI students.
So as Joel prepares for his new home, he can look back on the numerous people who have benefited from his knowledge and passion for teaching. They range from the medical students and the patients they’ve treated to the older adults whose lives are a little bit richer from his classes.
Greece...Cradle of Democracy; home to some of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world - Plato, Aristotle, Euclid; birthplace of innovations in virtually every aspect of life from architecture to drama and government.
OLLI-USF is offering a free opportunity to learn about the wonders of ancient Greece and how the discoveries of past centuries affect our lives today.
Save this date: Fri. Nov. 3, 12:15-1:15, for a free Friday Lecture on ancient Greece presented by noted classicist and historian Joseph McAuliffe, OLLI-USF's manager of educational programming.
You will learn about ancient Greek contributions to science, medicine philosophy, literature, politics and more. Also, find out how you can join a growing list of OLLI-USF members in visiting many of the sites where these discoveries took place.
Imagine the thrill of walking in Aristotle's footsteps at the Acropolis or standing where Aristophanes directed the chorus in the ancient Theater of Dionysus.
The lecture will be held at the Unisen Senior Living Auditorium, 12250 N. 22 St., in Tampa. A full house is expected for this free event, so reserve your seat now by calling Charise Dixie at (813) 974-5848 (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Other Exciting Travel Opportunities:
If you haven't signed up yet for the Albuquerque trip, spaces have opened up. Sign up before those spaces are taken. Details of this trip can be found here.
Ireland And Memorials Of World War 11
There are upcoming deadlines for Ireland and for the Memorials of World War II trips when spaces reserved for OLLI-USF will be released. So if you are interested in either of these trips, you might want to sign up for them now!
Information on all trips offered by the Travel committee can be found on OLLI's website here.
OLLI members as well as members of the Shanna & Bryan Glazer JCC, enjoyed a dazzling performance by the Leyte Dance Theater, a touring company from the Philippines, during the Tampa Multicultural Cafe on June 13 at the JCC.
In addition to the performance, attendees were treated to a variety of Filipino dishes and learned about the island nation's history and culture.
The Multicultural Cafes, offered every few months by OLLI and the JCC, provide a look into the culture and history of the varied communities within the Tampa Bay area.
Getting to the Meat of the Matter
The Boozy Pig Kitchen and Butchery in Tampa was the restaurant of choice for the Lunch Bunch’s latest gathering. Ten Lunch Bunchers met on Jun. 21 for a meaty good lunch and lots of conversation and catching up. Afterwards, some of the group stopped by the Butcher Shop to stock up before heading home. The Lunch Bunch is an offshoot of the Food! Glorious Food! SIG.
Twenty OLLI members and guests from the Conviviality and Celebrations Group recently enjoyed a variety of luncheon culinary delights at their June meeting at Michael’s Grill in Carrollwood.
Conviviality and Celebrations meets once a month at various restaurants in the Tampa Bay area to celebrate and recognize birthdays and other special occasions.
The next luncheon is scheduled for Wed., Jul. 26, at 1 p.m., at Yummy House China Bistro, 2620 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa.
All OLLI members and guests are welcome to join in the fun. Email Kat Hanscom for further information.
Better Late Than Never
Kat Hanscom was recognized as a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on May 2. Kat was not able to attend the event due to a prior commitment.
The volunteer awards program honors volunteers who have made significant contributions to the mission and values of OLLI-USF.
Volunteer Management Committee members were able to catch up with Kat at the Conviviality and Celebrations June monthly luncheon.
Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Kat.
Look for a profile of Kat Hanscom in a later edition of OLLILife.
Those Darn Shoelaces
This "just for fun” poll is to see how we handle shoelaces. Sounds silly, but shoelaces could easily get you tied up in a knot.
So nice and easy when we can just slip shoes on and off without worrying about lacing them up. However, if you want to wear a pair of shoes for walking, hiking, even for style, it could entail lacing and unlacing the shoes.
So, what is your style when dealing with laces on shoes?
Do you slip the shoes off and then undo the laces when you need to put them back on?
Or do you follow the rule that our mothers taught us - always undo the laces when taking the shoes off?
Maybe you are a little stubborn and force them on and off without undoing the shoe?
Buy the latest style of shoes that look tied, but never come undone and are easy to slip on and off?
Perhaps you avoid shoes with laces completely?
Pick one choice of how you handle those "darn shoelaces".
Look for next month's issue of OLLILife to see the results of "to tie or not to tie."
The Membership Committee Is Reaching Out
Happy 4th of July everyone. Let’s all enjoy friends and family and celebrate those distinct freedoms we share as a flawed but nonetheless democratic nation.
As OLLI membership chair, I want to know the OLLI community better. We are over 1,300 members strong but scattered all over Hillsborough County as well as Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties. You can’t all come to me, but I can come to you.
Here’s how you can assist: I need at least two OLLI members from the seven zip codes listed below who could meet me for breakfast in July at a local spot in your neighborhood to talk about how OLLI can better serve you and your geographical area. If you’re willing to help but are unavailable in July, let’s find another time that works.
Zip Codes: 33549, 33584, 33647, 34638, 33511, 33573, 33823
Beginning with this edition of OLLILife, the Membership Committee will have an article each month introducing a new OLLI member. Congratulations and welcome to OLLI’s newest members.
Mary joined OLLI this spring when her daughter gifted her a membership. Her busy schedule has prevented her from registering for a class yet, but she has joined the Online Games SIG. Mary loves games and hopes to soon bring her own board game to market. Mary is also fond of consignment shopping and travel.
Mary retired from the city of Tampa after 30 years of service in the convention and tourism industry. She continues giving to the community through her organization, TBA InTouch, Inc. She provides assistance to new moms, veterans, teachers, and foster families. When her Christmas Gift program became too big for her church, it moved to the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Mary is a recent (2021) widow. She faced this new challenge as she has always faced challenges; she put herself to work helping other new widows. She added this to the other causes benefitted by her organization.
Mary’s daughter, Veronica Maxwell, is also involved in making the world a better place. She is the director of OLLI-USF.
Attention New Members
If you are in your first year of OLLI membership, we want to get to know you and hear about your experiences.
Please join us on Tues., Aug. 22, at 12:30 p.m., for the New Member Roundtable Dutch Treat Luncheon at Brunchies, 14366 North Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa.
This is a regular gathering of new and existing members to exchange ideas about how to improve and expand the OLLI experience while we create new friendships.
Shared Interest Groups are a vibrant part of the OLLI-USF program. Are you someone who loves our SIGs and sees the value in promoting them?
We are looking for someone to be a backup for the SIG liaison and assist with associated duties and activities. This is an excellent opportunity to support the SIGs. The commitment would be for one year and could transition into the SIG liaison role.
Some of the activities and duties would include:
Collect and distribute information about SIG activities, including providing content for the SIGnificant Events calendar inOLLILifeand compiling attendance results to share with the Board and membership.
Assist with the SIG application process and attend organizational meetings
Review membership rosters regularly.
Schedule recurring SIG meetings on Zoom and provide links to SIG leaders.
Assist with organizing and hosting an annual SIG appreciation event and meeting.
Participate in other interesting and fun activities.
If you are interested and would like to learn more about this opportunity, please email Cath Mason.
On-Line Author Talks
Lyn Decker, from OLLI at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virgina, is promoting two free online author talks, which are described below. Both talks are sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as part of Fall for the Book's 25th Anniversary Festival. There are links to register for one or both.
In The Time Left Between Us, Alicia DeFonzo combines memoir, history, travel, and adventure to create a groundbreaking hybrid writing technique that uniquely pieces together a nonfiction narrative of her beloved grandfather’s World War II experience.
After learning of his survival of major campaigns and the liberation of concentration camps, and his acquisition of a Nazi Waffen-SS diary, DeFonzo sifts through his memories and travels in his footsteps in order to “[capture] the powerful connection that can exist between grandparent and grandchild— sharing what has never been shared with others, forever intertwining two souls,” says author Miles Ryan Fisher. Register for free here.
In Artem Mozgovoy’s Spring in Siberia, a young man born in 1985 under Soviet confinement in Siberia fights to make sense of his dark and tumultuous world, all while discovering his place within it as he falls in love with the son of KGB agents.
Mozgovoy himself grew up in Central Siberia and left in 2011 when Russia began legalizing its persecution of gay people. Stephen Fry calls this autobiographical novel “touching and well written, genuinely compelling and convincing.” Register for free here.
WHY WE LOVE OLLI
How The Live Poet’s Society Came To Be
It is 2014 and three OLLI members - Morrey Grimes, Jack Plimmer and Cath Mason - are brainstorming about the meaning of life: they conclude that what we need more of in our lives isn’t wealth or fame, but poetry! Their brilliant conclusion led to the formation of The Live Poet’s Society (TLPS) which, headed by Cath Mason and supported by OLLI, held its inaugural meeting at the Jimmy B. Keel Library in December 2014.
About the Group
Since that first meeting, the poetry group has met regularly and eagerly.
During COVID, the group met by Zoom which, despite the many painful restrictions of the pandemic, gave us the opportunity to include in our meetings poetry lovers who could not travel, or who lived in different cities.
TLPS is a lovely collection of people; we are open and supportive, and respectful of the opinions of others. We are connected by the knowledge that when we read poetry, or hear it being read, and when we discuss our varied reactions and feelings evoked by the poems, we know that we are safe in what we say and that there are no right or wrong questions or answers.
We read poetry because it makes us feel, because it often expresses emotions that perhaps we cannot verbalize, or sometimes it brings back memories or opens new cultures and experiences to us. Sometimes we read poetry because it is funny or confusing or challenging or, very often, simply because it is beautiful.
The OLLI Connects blog publishes poetry by our members and features members reading poetry, usually in April for National Poetry Month. You can see archived material on the blog, here: https://olliconnects.org/category/poetry/
Here is a link to Shelly Belzer reading W.H.Auden and Muriel Rukeyser in May 2021:
The group has lost a few beautiful poets over the years. Pictured is one of them, Mary Elizabeth “Bettie” Perez.
Over the years, members of The Live Poets Group have attended poetry readings offered by USF’s Humanities department and other organizations around the Tampa Bay area. After poet Mary Oliver died, TLPS member Evelyn Romano organized a reading at New Tampa Regional Library attended by 55 people. Several members of the TLPS honored Mary Oliver by reading her poems.
TLPS feels lucky to belong to an organization that is so supportive of the various interests of its members. They are thankful to all of the OLLI staff and volunteers who help facilitate the formation and continuation of shared interest groups.
You can view a few more pictures of the TLPS group here.
--Joyce Carpenter and Cath Mason
--Photos by Simone Leal
OLLI Offers Other Poetry Opportunities
OLLI regularly offers poetry writing and discussion classes. In the past, Jerry Noland, Victoria Dym, Joyce Carpenter (with Brenda Tipps) and Kevin Chittim as part of Great Books have been among the instructors who taught the classes.
This fall, Victoria Dym will lead How do You Haiku? and an open mic session. A new instructor, Kelly Queijo, will teach a beginners poetry writing class. Bob Strozier and Cath Mason will teach Here We Come: More Poems from The New Yorker.
Cath Mason hosts the Write Time for Poets SIG on the second Thursday of each month, where poets work on their own poems.
Cath has taught classes since 2015 on American poetry, UK poetry, Tampa poets, poems from The New Yorker, poems from Poetry, prose poems, Ekphrastic poetry in the blended learning class, and More than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art.
SIGnificant EVENTS FOR JULY 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.
Food, Glorious Food! will not have monthly meetings in June, July and August. But wait! We will be continuing the Lunch Bunch and the ABC Cooking Club through the summer. If you want to be involved/informed (if you are not already on our roster), just send a note to Sandy Buckley. Happy Florida summer, everyone!
Hablemos! Spanish Conversation SIG
Zoom Meeting: Tues., Jul. 18, from 3 until 4:30 p.m. All levels of Spanish speakers welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thurs., Jul. 13, at 3:30 p.m. To play Scattergories, emailKathy Palmer for the link.
For the Thurs., Jul. 20 and Aug. 17 meetings, we will meet from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at the Seminole Heights Library, 4711 N. Central Ave., Room 223, Tampa.
Please email Robyn Cheung or call her at 215-880-9212 to RSVP.
Mon., Jul. 3, and 17, at 1 p.m. For an invitation, contactTheresa Sokol.
Join over 200 OLLI members in the Outdoors SIG! While many outdoor events are on hiatus for the summer, SIG members will get email notices for cool or shady special events. Email Diane and Donna at OLLIOutdoors@gmail.com tojoin the fun.
Want to learn about nature from the air-conditioned comfort of your home? We have our own movie channel! Summer is a great time to watch our recorded programs like the science of bird migration in our Outdoors showcase at https://vimeo.com/showcase/8985414
Operatunity will not hold meetings during the summer months. The next membership meeting will be Mon.,Sep. 25, at 10 a.m., at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa (UUCT). For details and more information about this SIG, contact Derrie Perez.
The next meeting will be at Compton Park, Wed., Jul. 12, at 1 p.m. Email Doug Dalliofor more information.
For information about the Shutterbugs, please email Jean Nixon.
Write Time for Poets
We willnot be meeting in July, August, or September. Meetings will resume in October. For more information about this SIG, email Cath Mason.
Fri., Jul. 21, at1:30 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 email@example.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.