Donna and Jerry Evers are no strangers to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Ever since they joined the program following a recommendation from a friend, the couple has participated in roughly a dozen classes each semester and three to four classes during the summer.
“Our first classes were in the old Cross Center, and we were very impressed with an Origins of Christianity class taught by Dr. Kyle Harper,” Donna Evers said. “I knew from that first class that I would be an OLLI participant for a long time.”
The Everses have already had their fair share of education. Donna is a retired journalism professor and Jerry is a retired high school guidance counselor. Donna received her bachelor's degree in journalism from OU in 1968, her master's degree in journalism from OU in 1969 and her PhD from OU in higher education administration and journalism in 1989. However, their education hasn’t ended with the conclusion of their careers. Donna Evers prides herself on staying informed on current events.
“On a typical day I read four morning newspapers and a couple more on my iPad, and then Jerry and I attend one or more OLLI classes,” she said.
A voracious reader, Donna spends her days reading and learning while Jerry restores antique cars between OLLI classes.
“My favorite subject in school was history,” Jerry said. “In OLLI we aren't restricted to classes just within a major, but we have a wide variety of subjects to choose from. The options are much broader. I am presently in an OLLI class on Vietnam, which is interesting to me because I was in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.”
Although their current OLLI classes keep the Everses busy, they often think about possible classes in the future.
“My favorite professor is David Ray, dean of the Honors College, because he is so knowledgeable on such a wide range of topics,” Jerry said. “My dream course would be held in the big conference room at the end of the hall in the Forum. It would be taught by Shad Satterthwaite, and it would cover the current military and political situation in the United States.”
“My dream course would be for David Boren to teach a class on U.S. politics,” Donna said. “I'd also love for Sherri Coale to teach one on women's basketball, or for the dean of the College of Education, Gregg Garn, to teach one on education in Oklahoma.”
Besides valuing the education OLLI provides, Donna and Jerry have enjoyed getting to know other retired professionals with similar interests and similar curiosities.
“My experience with OLLI classes has been so positive that I miss them a lot between semesters. I wish we never took a break,” Donna said.
Jerry agrees. “I would tell a stranger that spending time in OLLI classes is as good as being with your grandchildren—and that is the supreme compliment!”
To find out more about OLLI at OU, visit the OU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute website.