There Goes Pacer
In Fall 2009, just as OU freshmen were stepping onto campus for the first time, Pacer Faseler stepped into an OLLI class for the first time.
“Retiring was a frightening event for me,” he said. “I have known a number of people who retired a lot younger than I did, seeming to lose interest in life. They age rapidly and die early. I am convinced that OLLI plays a very important role in my life.”
Before his journey with OLLI, Pacer grew up as a Texan on a farm along with his 11 siblings. Being raised in the country near San Antonio for most of his life, the best opportunity to play with friends was to go to school early ahead of the school bus. It was on just such a trek to meet up with his friends that the story of his unique nickname unfolded more than 70 years ago.
“One morning I was a little late,” Pacer recalls, “and the bus passed me. As it passed, one of the older kids stuck his head out the window and yelled ‘There goes the Pacer!’ The name stuck like glue.”
After many years on the farm in San Antonio, Pacer entered the Air Force during the Korean War, while attending Southwest Texas State at the same time. Joining the Air Force opened several doors for Pacer.
“I had the opportunity to fly a number of WWII aircraft before entering the jet age and missile age,” he said.
His active role in the Air Force resulted in being assigned to Tinker Air Force Base as a Recruiting Squadron Commander.
Pacer retired from the Air Force and was quickly faced with the possibility of having four daughters in college at the same time. He knew he would need a second career, so he went back to school in pursuit of his MBA, attending the University of Oklahoma along with two of his daughters. He also had several economics classes with one of them.
Pacer left OU after one semester when he received an employment offer he could not refuse. For many years, he continued to support his family, becoming President of the Texas Irrigation Council and the Lower Rio Grande River Authority, as well as being a point man for water quality issues in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Pacer and his wife, Carolyn, returned to Norman to retire. The pair enjoys attending plays at the theatre, watching music programs offered through OU, traveling on different cruise lines, cheering on the Sooners at basketball and football games and, of course, attending OLLI courses.
Involvement in OLLI
Just as an OU student would sit at the front of the class in his or her favorite course taught by a top-notch professor, Pacer can be spotted at the front of just about every OLLI course.
Since joining the OLLI program in 2009, Pacer said he takes an average of about nine classes each semester, plus many summer courses and most of the “Mornings with the Professor” sessions. Many aspects attracted him to the program, from the opportunity to learn a little about a lot of subjects to the chance to meet and become friends with a lot of interesting people.
Pacer’s passion for traveling to Athens, Istanbul, Barcelona and Copenhagen has aligned with many of the courses OLLI has offered.
“It is not possible to name a favorite course because there have been many,” he said. “I enjoy courses that inspire extra reading.
“Other favorites that teach us more about the places we have traveled. A special treat was a course on St. Petersburg. My wife and I were able to take the class a month before we traveled there.”
According to Pacer, his journey with OLLI has been life altering in the most positive way possible.
“I want to be in a lot more (classes),” he said. “I believe these classes, some travel, reading and exercise does not prevent aging, but it sure does slow it down.”