Olli at unlv member spotlight. Dr, Richard Berman: Instructor since 2014. Member since 2013

Following my career in community mental health and a post-retirement coda teaching over 150 college and university courses, the prospect of retiring was daunting. I wanted to keep on helping people and I hadn’t yet had my fill of teaching. OLLI became a viable option to volunteer and to teach. Retirement fulfilled.

I have now instructed over 14 OLLI courses including “Neurotics, Psychotics, and Sociopaths”, “Cruising 101”, “Native Americans of the Southwest”, and “Aging Well”. OLLI students rock! Yes, compared to typical 20 something year-old college students, OLLI students are curious and eager to learn. Many young students are there simply because their parents told them they had to be there.

When I taught at several universities, I had a few MARS (mature adult returning students) in my classes. They always set the bar high for the younger students. Imagine teaching at OLLI. What a treat! You have a classroom full of MARS.

When my wife and I moved to Henderson 22 years ago, we purchased a home in Sun City Anthem. We sold that home two years ago and moved to Carnegie Heights, a community building for active adults over 55. Carnegie had many of the pieces in place for aging well including comfortable apartments for restorative sleep, a fitness center with strength and movement classes, a regularly changing menu for healthy nutrition and of course, a community of seniors for socialization. Yes, social connectiveness is one of the five pillars supporting longevity.

Four pillars were already in place that support aging well, but the fifth pillar was missing. The fifth pillar has to do with keeping the brain challenged, and ongoing lifelong learning fits that definition. To meet that goal, I met with Carnegie administration and presented a written proposal to establish “Carnegie College”. The College was launched in January 2022, and offers 2 to 3 lectures each month featuring experts from many fields. Subjects include history, health, and entertainment to name a few. There is no homework, and there are no tests. The College is marketed as “entertaining education”. It is structured in such a manner that, upon attending 16 to 20 lectures per year, student-residents can progress from freshman status all the way to senior status. Additionally, a graduation ceremony takes place every January. OLLI’s own Rob Levrant was the keynote speaker for the first graduation ceremony in January 2023. Carnegie Heights may well be the only residence of its kind to have such a structured learning experience in place. I view Carnegie College as OLLI’s little brother.

I may or may not become one of our country’s centenarians. Currently, there are about 90,000. However, I am doing all that gerontologists suggest I should be doing to live to be 100. Thank you, OLLI, for assisting me in my quest.