Published: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 10:17
Danielle Hartnett outside in front of white brick wall. Member since 2018

When I retired in 2017 and moved to Vegas to be near family, I didn’t know anyone. I started going to Meetup lunches and happened to meet someone who regularly attended OLLI. I had actually attended OLLI events through Cal State University Monterey Bay, so I was excited to find a program here at UNLV.

The first class I took at OLLI at UNLV was with the late Keith Bauer, the program’s resident film expert. Before class, we would have wide-ranging discussions about film, and it was actually with his encouragement that I decided to teach as well. My first class was on the history of the early gangster film. I know Keith is deeply missed and I will be forever grateful to him for starting me on this path.

I have a degree in film from USC, where I studied with blacklisted filmmaker Abraham Polonsky and renowned film scholar Drew Casper. I also worked in television and at the American Film Institute. One of the happiest times of my life was when I was a film reviewer. I bring all of this with me when I teach my film history classes.

One of the things I like most about OLLI is being exposed to things that I might not seek out otherwise. I have taken classes on Brahms, jazz, and the history of the CIA, which actually helped me when I was preparing my class on the films of the Cold War.

After a few years of teaching, I was invited to serve on the Educational Programming Committee, where one of my main responsibilities is to support new instructors. I am also looking forward to doing community outreach to promote our program and tell potential members about the many benefits of OLLI.

One aspect of teaching that most delights me is to have people 90 years of age—even older—approach me after class to tell me that they learned something new that day. The fact that I can teach something new to someone with so much life experience gives me profound joy. Being a part of OLLI has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I have known.