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Osher Institute announces fall 2013 course schedule

August 13, 2013

Hugh Downs, one of the world’s premiere social and cultural commentators, is the featured lecturer this fall for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Arizona State University.

Downs’ lecture, “Two Views of Human Progress,” will take place 1:30 p.m., Dec. 14, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Cronkite Theater, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Admission is $25.

Among the many courses and lectures being offered this fall by OLLI are "Arizona’s Unsolved Mysteries," "Climate Change: The Science and the Spin," "Buddhism Comes to America," Scottsdale Public Art Trolley Tour and the Civic Engagement Series, featuring Ken Bennett and Lattie Coor.

The institute provides low-cost educational and cultural courses, and programs for participants ages 50 and above. Fall classes begin in September, October and November, with most courses running four sessions. One-session lectures will also be offered.

Classes are offered at locations around the Valley, including programs at our newest locations: ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus and Maravilla Scottsdale. There will also be courses at ASU’s West campus in northwest Phoenix, Tempe Connections at the Tempe Public Library, and Friendship Village Tempe.

Rabbi David Davis has been teaching religious studies for nearly 45 years. He says it’s a wonderful adventure teaching others about religious history. "Most students who enroll in my classes are not Jewish. They enjoy learning about the connections between Judaism and Christianity,” says Davis. In December, he will present a lecture called “Chanukah vs. Christmas” during The Seasonal Trilogy Series at the ASU West campus.

This semester, the OLLI is partnering with the two major entities in the community. First, Phoenix Theatre will spotlight their upcoming production of "The 39 Steps," which will include a lecture on the history, filming and post-culture of Alfred Hitchcock’s film, a backstage tour and discounted tickets to the stage production. Then, Phoenix Art Museum will present a series on Latin American Art, featuring ASU faculty lectures, curator-led gallery tours and artist demonstrations. All programs are exclusive for OLLI at ASU members.

“The 50-plus generation is now known as the encore generation,” said Richard Knopf, director of OLLI at ASU. “Never has there been a greater thirst by seniors to explore, chart new destinies, expand horizons and serve others. The OLLI at ASU opens doors not only to learn, but to find meaningful pathways to ignite people’s talents in a way that gives back to their communities.”

Knopf’s sentiments were echoed by retired Valley physician Gene Severino, who has taken a number of OLLI courses at ASU’s West campus and Tempe Connections with his wife, Carol.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with golf, but playing golf 24/7 is the old version of retirement,” Severino said. “The new retiree wants to explore topics and ideas he or she didn’t have the time to learn about before. The OLLI at ASU provides a perfect opportunity to exercise your mind. All of the courses and instructors I’ve experienced have been top-quality.”

The institute is funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports university-quality educational offerings for mature students interested in learning for the love of learning. ASU is one of several colleges and universities across the United States to have been awarded a permanent Osher Foundation endowment to sustain and support its programs.

The printed schedule will be available in late August at most public libraries, senior centers and community centers, and will be on-line at Students may register for courses on-line through the website. Call (602) 543-6440 for further details.