For Bill and Millie Audas, education is not merely a pastime, but a lifestyle. Throughout the duration of their careers, they have been dedicated to educating themselves and those around them, imbedding their own lives in the principles and enriching the lives of those they meet.
“Education is our world,” Millie says. “We love the people. We love the culture.”
Bill and Millie Audas have been dedicated Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members for four years, but knew about the program long before their participation began. After prompting from a childhood friend, Julie Klopfenstein, Bill and Millie decided to take the program for a spin and have not looked back.
“For us, being involved in OLLI is an additional enrichment for our life in Norman. There are many different people, whose background differ and we each add such a special history,” Millie says.
Despite a common love for the program, there are different aspects that keep the Audas’s coming back. Truly enjoying the seminar courses, Bill is happy to have the opportunity to delve in to class subjects a little more deeply. However, for Bill it is the diversity and variety that is present in the OLLI program that he finds most attractive.
Having enjoyed classes on Buddhism, Shakespeare, art, music, meditation and several how-tos, the opportunities to learn have been abundant. Bill even takes pride in being the “godfather” of the Tai Chi class, having found the instructor, Phil Joy, and helping it come to fruition with the OLLI coordinators.
Millie, on the other hand, enjoys partaking in classes that require less of a commitment. Mornings with the Professor are a perfect fit for her, as they are short and sweet in nature. After finishing her doctorate, Millie could not stand the idea of taking more tests. Through OLLI, she has had the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting, without the obligations of a degree-seeking program.
“We’ve been here 35 years and all of these years we have been promoting OU. It’s been our world. I don’t know many universities that have such a high caliber of programs and faculty,” says Bill.
“It is so much fun to take classes with colleagues. It makes being a student and learning such a pleasure.” Millie says.
Even her love of the French language and culture has been fostered through classes such as French Films. Having established a French Alumni Network with close to 100 people, Mille truly has such a joie de vivre, which she gives to everyone she meets.
The importance of education has been passed from Bill and Millie to their grandchildren. Having five granddaughters, ages ranging from five to seventeen, the Audas’s love to spend time with them when they are not traveling. To promote lifelong learning, they have set up five individual trust funds to benefit their grandchildren’s education.
“What a great example to set that learning doesn’t end. We can do it through OLLI and pass on them our love for it. Education doesn’t stop. It’s constant,” Bill says.
OLLI at OU is lucky to have such incredible members, who bring rich histories, colorful pasts, ever-changing ideas and hope for the future with them to each class. It is with dedicated and gracious students, such as Bill and Millie Audas, that the program continues to grow and strengthen. With smiles and laughter, they offer a last piece of advice to new students and those considering joining the program:
“Just do it!” says the OLLI couple in unison. “Dig in! Just begin because as soon as you do, you will be addicted.”
Contact the OLLI office to learn more: