OLLI Member Spotlight: Ann and Hank Ryan

BY SARA DYER

Ann and Hank RyanYou may know Ann and Hank Ryan as Cal Hobson’s infamous “Russian spies” or just as two of our most devoted members, but either way, they are no strangers to OLLI at OU. Ann has completed almost 100 courses on various topics over the last nine years of her membership and along with others, Hank is always present in our courses geared towards politics.

“I like to consider myself as the OLLI poster child,” Ann said.

Ann and Hank, a former banker and lawyer of Oklahoma City respectively, have been members of the Norman community since 2001 and have not hesitated to get involved in their areas of interest. Ann, with a passion for gardening and beautification, has chaired the OU Landscape Architecture Advisory Committee and was a landscape designer for 10 years. Hank serves in Norman Rotary and the Norman Board of Adjustment. The two are supporters of the Fine Arts at OU and love living within walking distance of campus, as it allows them to take advantage of everything from academic lectures, to sports, and even just as an enjoyable place to take long walks.

Both have shared their experiences in OLLI classes, as they pertain to many subjects of discussion. Ann shared her unique experiences of working for Penn Square Bank in Cal Hobson’s Oil Men course last fall, and Hank’s practice as an Oklahoma lawyer fostered his contribution to the discussion of the legal implications that surrounded Penn Square Bank and the oil industry in our state.

Ann’s hobbies include gardening, reading novels, traveling and spending time with grandchildren. Hank considers himself a “backsliding car freak.” He used to race a small sailboat and has influenced Oklahoma greatly by contributing to design projects of the lawyer’s computer work station in 1991 and the first commercially-available hypertext version of the Oklahoma Statutes.

“The majority of the senior students are well-educated, lively, humorous, vital people from many backgrounds. They willingly share their knowledge and experience both in and out of class. ”
– Ann Ryan

Both Ann and Hank’s expertise in their various areas of interest and professions have made them great attributes to the OLLI program, as they contribute tremendously to the lifelong learning of other members. The two enjoy their friendships with other OLLI members and the collaboration of knowledge that accompanies them.

“The majority of the senior students are well-educated, lively, humorous, vital people from many backgrounds,” Ann said. “They willingly share their knowledge and experience both in and out of class.”

Ann has attended and enjoyed many OLLI courses ranging from Ken Johnson’s courses that exhibit “humorous explanations of the physical world around us” to some of David Levy’s courses on the life of Mark Twain and recollections of the Vietnam War. Ann’s thirst for knowledge has been quenched by the many OLLI courses she has taken, but looks forward to adventuring further into topics of film, politics, music, law, geology, weather literature, witches of Renaissance art and many others that spark her interest.

Hank’s participation in our programs soon followed Ann’s, who began taking courses in 2007.  He holds interest in courses on Oklahoma history, but has most enjoyed our recent courses on politics with Cal Hobson and of course “getting to sit next to Ann.” Hank’s rich sense of humor rarely goes unnoticed, as he usually has a clever or witty remark up his sleeve at any time.

OLLI members and instructors benefit tremendously from the copious and colorful experiences, unique knowledge, refreshing humor and notable dedication to lifelong learning that Ann and Hank bring to our program.