OLLI Member Spotlight: Haven Tobias

BY ELIZABETH KELLOGG

Haven TobiasWith a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, Master of Arts in American Studies and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma, long-time OLLI member Haven Tobias is no stranger to lifetime learning.

Tobias was first introduced to the OLLI program around 2005, while taking credit courses at OU. After visiting different departments on campus in hopes of fulfilling her love of education, she learned about the OLLI program and has not looked back since.

“Finding OLLI was one of the happiest events of my life,” she said.

Tobias enjoys taking a wide variety of courses, ranging from David Anderson’s literature courses to Kimball Milton’s Quantum Universe, and truly values the spread of the subject matter and incredible instructors the program has to offer. However, she finds some of the most memorable moments in listening and learning from the other members in her courses.

“Finding OLLI was one of the happiest events of my life."

“Everybody in the classes is bright and has a great deal to contribute,” Tobias said.

However, what makes her most unique is that she is not only a student, but an OLLI instructor, as well. Her meditation course continues to grow each semester it is offered, as does the interest of her students.

Tobias decided to teach the course after having been approached with various inquires. She realized there was a true hunger for knowledge and meditation, but did not know what venue would be appropriate.

“What I love about OLLI is that I have an academic approach because this is an academic institution, and OLLI is an academic program…and so it came together,” she said. “They say there is something like 48 meditation techniques. There is something for everybody, and I try to cover as many of those as I can to help provide everybody the opportunity to find what fits. That is how I came to decide it might be a great OLLI class. First, there was a hunger for it, and second, this would allow people to explore in a comfortable setting, various techniques.”

Though she will not be instructing meditation in the spring semester, Tobias is certainly not finished teaching. She is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to teach in the summer and enjoy the spring semester as a student.

“I think I would have understood how engaged everybody is even if I had just been a student,” she said, “but it comes reaffirmed to see it from both sides of the podium. Classes are just a joy. The best classes are the ones where there is an exchange going on between the teacher and students.”

Tobias is greatly looking forward to the spring and all that it has to offer, with her greatest frustration that she cannot take every course.

“In the spring, I am most looking forward to the spring catalog,” she said, “and then I’m looking forward to the intellectual exercise of realizing I cannot take as many classes as I want to take.”

The OLLI department is so lucky to have Tobias’ influence and presence, both as a student and a teacher.