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‘OLLI’ learning and growth for individuals 50 and better!

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) participants (left to right) Joe Clements, Jenny Fortenberry, and Al Dugan. OLLI offers learning opportunities without grading for seniors 50 and better.

Special to The Connection; by Ellen Sloan

Three Castle Pines residents – Jenny Fortenberry, Al Dugan, and Joe Clements – have found a rewarding second chance at classroom learning. They have discovered OLLI, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, an ungraded learning program for seniors who are 50 and better.

Co-sponsored by the University of Denver’s University College and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, OLLI was created to meet the needs of older learners who want to learn simply for the joy of learning and personal fulfillment. Fortenberry, Dugan and Clements all found the newest branch, OLLI-South, around the time of its inception three years ago.

Fortenberry, a former teacher, guidance counselor, and school vice-principal, finds herself drawn to the hard science classes, which she says are out of her usual realm of interest in college. She was so enthusiastic after her first year of classes that she allowed herself to get lured out of ten years of retirement to become the manager of OLLI-South.

“This,” she said, “is the best job I have ever had.”

Despite her managing obligations, Fortenberry continues to take classes herself, citing Acting for Nonactors, The Night Sky, Current Events, and Colorado Geology as being among her favorites.

Dugan, who holds a doctorate in physics, desired to study more liberal arts. Having been a self-described workaholic and career techie, Dugan had minimal time to explore other fields of knowledge – apart from the study of economics, which he considers his hobby and a second area of expertise. He regards one of the first classes he took as having been one of the most interesting – A History of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Subsequently, not having had a lot of Bible study during his Catholic education, Dugan found the class fascinating. Then, closer to his hard science academic roots, he also loved the Hubble Space Telescope class.

“I was surprised to observe how much our knowledge of the universe has grown,” said Dugan.

Clements described himself as having been an immature, fun-loving math major who took a while as an undergraduate to discover his passion for academics – history in particular.

“I am a slow reader and I avoided history or anything with a lot of reading,” he admits.

But when he went back to school 27 years after attaining his bachelor’s degree to get an MS in management, he realized how much he had matured and was excited by the diversity and people-focus of his studies, as opposed to the number crunching he had been doing during his career in the insurance business.

“I was learning stuff all the time and I only missed one class,” he said.

If you are interested in re-awakening your inner student, consider OLLI.

For further information about OLLI-South classes (held at the Valley View Christian Church just east of S. Santa Fe at Titan Road), contact Jenny Fortenberry at 720-339-1379 or e-mail

Registration forms and course descriptions for the spring term starting March 25, may be accessed at The registration fee is $100 per term for all of the classes you may choose to enjoy. Classes often fill quickly with waiting lists.



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