STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — To Bill Smyrl, the best part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute courses is attendees can attend, take notes, listen, and learn without the pressure of two things.
“The fun part is there are no grades and no tests,” said Smyrl, chairman of the OLLI program at the Texas Tech University-Highland Lakes campus.
OLLI begins its spring semester for individuals 50 and older Tuesday, Feb. 6, with a course on the Texas Rangers that includes their history and heritage.
But that’s not the only class offered. To get a catalog, interested persons are invited to the OLLI kickoff gathering from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at Hidden Falls Golf Club, 220 Meadowlakes Drive in Meadowlakes. There is no cost to attend the gathering, and instructors will talk about their classes.
While there, people can become OLLI members for $30, which will give a discounted rate for taking a class. Classes for members range from $15 to $50, while nonmembers pay $30 to $65.
People can choose from 22 courses on topics such as cardiovascular disease, drug-herb-vitamin interactions, how to make your own beer, which elements go into growing the proper grapes for wine, and how to fly fish in the Hill Country.
Many of the instructors aren’t professors; most are teaching a class on something they happen to do daily as a career.
Smyrl, who plans to take every class, will also lead one. He will interview two World War II veterans as they tell their story from 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20.
New this semester is the business development series that’s designed for people who are retired and want to supplement their income, always wanted to start their own business, or want to increase their bottom line.
The five classes cover business legal basics, how to set up a system to record financial transactions, how to secure a business loan, business taxes, and how to use social media. They are taught each Tuesday beginning Feb. 13 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunches.
Vice chairman Elaine Waddell, who is in charge of curriculum, said she spoke with local Certified Public Accountant Lisa Bargsley,
“Lisa had some great ideas of what that would look like and how can we make that happen,” Waddell said.
She knows many people who have money but don’t know how to move forward in their retirement because they still have a desire to work on something that’s challenging and enjoyable.
Smyrl said the offerings this semester came from student suggestions.
If people can’t attend the kickoff gathering, Smyrl said they can pick up course catalogs at local libraries, medical offices and hospitals, and Texas Tech University-Highland Lakes, 806 Steve Hawkins in Marble Falls. OLLI office hours are 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Call (806) 834-4275 for more information.