From Sheila Rocker Heppe, OLLI Director

I find myself surrounded by Wisdom as we launch 2015.

Last November OLLI at HSU celebrated Wisdom in the Spotlight, a show produced by Tracey Barnes Priestley, featuring ten members of our community and the wisdom they had to share. Abundant thanks to Scott Robbins, Diana Herberger, Bob Bloch, Maggie Kraft, Charmaine Mosher-Carbiener, Kate Ward Lehre, Cat Koshkin, Jan Ostrom, Barry Evans and Valerie Gillet Bourne. These wise individuals helped us to see the world in new and thoughtful ways. This benefit for OLLI at HSU deeply enriched our souls.

The Wisdom of OLLI members was also shared at the Full Membership Meeting in August. Led by OLLI Leaders from the Curriculum Committee and the Finance and Fundraising Committee, the meeting included sharing ideas for future OLLI classes and celebrating our successful fundraising campaign. Thank you again to the over 200 people who contributed to help us exceed our $20,000 goal!

The OLLI at HSU Scholarship program is made possible in part by these generous gifts (see the FAQ for more information about the scholarship application process). Also, our classrooms have new computers and projectors, and work continues on the installation of a loop system in our classrooms to enhance sound through hearing devices equipped with T-coils.

I am deeply grateful to all Friends of OLLI. The names of current and past donors can be found here.

At the Full Membership Meeting, members made requests for new courses and we listened. On this website and in the OLLI at HSU catalog, you will find Wisdom shared on these suggested topics: evolution, exploring death and dying, current events, theater and opera, music appreciation, documentary photography and digital storytelling, iPad/smartphone, travel, backpacking in the Sierras, Native cultures, art appreciation.

Join us for FREE brown bag lunch discussions each Wednesday at the Humboldt Bay Aquatics Center. Topics can be found on this website. These gatherings are highly informative and provide a lively place for exchange and to gather Wisdom.


The night before we were sending the OLLI catalog to press, Humboldt State held a festive Holiday Party for all campus employees. The new HSU president Dr. Lisa Rossbacher addressed the crowd and talked about HSU’s work in the community. Then she read a letter she had received from the Bernard Osher Foundation. In that moment my colleagues and I learned OLLI at HSU has received a million dollar endowment. It was quite a wonderful surprise!

The money will be invested through the HSU Advancement Foundation account, and OLLI at HSU will receive 5% or $50,000 annually toward its base budget. This gift from the Osher Foundation will support OLLI at HSU now and into the future.

There are eight criteria which must be met in order for an Institute to be considered for this million dollar gift. I had the opportunity to speak with the Director at the Osher Foundation, and he commended us on our successful fundraising campaign; ongoing stellar curriculum reflecting commitment to the community; YOU, our devoted and consistent members; strong campus involvement; and the exuberant spirit of OLLI at HSU –- which is evident in all our work. The Osher Foundation feels certain OLLI at HSU has a bright future ahead.

Thank you to the entire OLLI community!

Celebrating Lifelong Learning in 2015,

Sheila Rocker Heppe