Cal State LA Lifelong Learning Program



October, 2017

Mission and Purpose:

- Cal State LA emeriti and current faculty present lectures (or presentations) to diverse audiences of seniors in metropolitan Los Angeles to empower older adults to remain vibrant in mind, body and spirit.
- Emeriti presenters are encouraged to maintain their academic expertise and share the personal and intellectual fruits of retirement.
- Cal State LA and the surrounding community are brought closer.


- A non-profit program, Lifelong Learning is administered by a Board comprised of six members.  Three are Cal State LA emeriti faculty, two are seniors drawn from the six venues we serve and one is a student with connections to student government at Cal State LA.
- The Board elects the Director of the program from its own ranks.
- Formerly connected to the College of Human Services, Lifelong Learning at Cal State LA now is affiliated directly with the Emeriti Association

Current Board:

Director:  Peter Brier, Emeritus Professor of English, who also serves as Liaison to the Executive Committee of the Cal State LA Emeriti Association
Emeriti:   Marilyn Friedman, Emerita Professor of Nursing; Constance Corley, Emerita Professor of Social Work and Gerontology
Senior Representatives: Victor Pierce and Ellen Pierce (Griffith Park Community Center and Hollenbeck Palms Senior Residence)
Student:  Carmen Avalos

The Board meets approximately every two months in Music 129 on campus. This facility was generously supplied by the previous Dean of the School of Arts and Letters.  At our meetings we review suggestions for our curriculum, finalize the schedules on a seasonal basis and discuss the possibilities for growth and change in our program.

Participating Venues: Villa Gardens, Pasadena; South Pasadena Senior Center; Griffith Park Community Center, Los Angeles; Hollenbeck Palms, Boyle Heights; Monte Cedro Retirement Home, Altadena; Royal Oaks, Bradbury

Fiscal Arrangements: Participating venues pay under yearly contract or for individual presentations.  Every presenting lecturer gets an honorarium gift card of $50.00 for each presentation.  Funds are deposited with the Emeriti Association and its treasurer supervises all deposits and withdrawals through UAS as they are stipulated by the Lifelong Learning Board.

Contact Information:  Any emeriti interested in presenting in the Lifelong Learning program, please contact Peter Brier at 626-376-0300 or [email protected].  Leave longer messages at 323-343-4727, our Cal State LA mail box.


As it appeared in The Emeritimes, Winter Issue, 2013

Lifelong Learning at Cal State L.A.: The Inside Story

By Peter Brier
Lifelong Learning Program Liaison

The Lifelong Learning Program is “big business” at CSU Long Beach, but not everyone is aware that Cal State L.A. has a more modest, but no less enterprising, Lifelong Learning program of its own.             Almost a decade ago, Connie Corley, professor in the School of Social Work, and Kim Miller, professor of nursing, were both directors in what was then the Roybal Institute of Applied Gerontology (now Applied Gerontology Institute). Together they obtained a grant from the Osher Foundation to organize a program in Lifelong Learning at Cal State L.A. It was called “OLLI” for short, an acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Today it is Lifelong Learning at Cal State L.A.—no catchy acronym, but a hard-won title for a successful program that has survived shocks and trials that would have caused similar ventures to go under. Kim Miller retired shortly after OLLI got under way, and Connie Corley singlehandedly went about recruiting organizational memberships with community centers and senior residences in the San Gabriel Valley and nearby neighborhoods. These institutions paid a set fee, and were entertained or instructed by retired entertainers and academics recruited by Corley. She turned to Cal State L.A. emeriti for instructors, and thereby initiated a connection between the emeriti and lifelong learning that  has enriched the lives of emeriti, instructed hundreds of seniors, and provided a unique form of outreach from the University to the general community. The School of Health and Human Services, under Dean Beatrice Yorker, graciously provided the program with a University umbrella, and in the early years many classes and social gatherings convened at the Gerontology Institute. Soon more than 200 seniors were enrolled. Most of the classes convened at the various centers and residences that had signed up for organizational memberships. Many seniors would have found it difficult to drive to campus; taking the program to them seemed an ideal solution.  Unfortunately, the Osher Foundation did not like the organizational membership formula. Osher wanted to see a growing roster of enrolled seniors registering and paying their fees on an individual basis. Osher withdrew its support, and the program changed names. Corley turned to Marilyn Kronmal, a member of the Lifelong Board of Advisors, for assistance. Kronmal secured funding from the Jesse L. Simon Foundation, which kept the program afloat for about two years. Once this source of revenue ceased, the program was totally reliant on the enrollment fees paid by the organizational memberships. They included, among others, the South Pasadena Senior Center, Griffith Park Adult Community Center, and Hollenbeck Palms Retirement Community. Just recently, Pasadena’s Villa Gardens has signed on. At this critical juncture, the Executive Committee of our Emeriti Association came to the rescue and provided an annual subsidy that enabled the program to support a student assistant. Invaluable assistance and leadership on the Advisory Board, as well as technical and organizational assistance, has been provided by one of its most dedicated supporters, Victor Pierce, a student since the earliest days of the program. He and his wife Ellen, Cal State L.A. alumni, believe strongly in the importance of Lifelong Learning to the community served by our campus, and have played a vital role in keeping us alive and well. Lifelong Learning at Cal State L.A. owes a great deal to Connie Corley (now professor emerita), whose vision, energy, and dedication to the educational needs of senior citizens are exemplary. In ministering to them, she has also met an important need in the emeriti community. Those among us who still love teaching, and despite advancing years want to keep doing it, have found the opportunity to satisfy a personal whim and be of use in the senior community. More than 25 Cal State L.A. emeriti have taught in the program since its inception in 2004. Chemists, physicists, social scientists, historians, sociologists, literary scholars, poets, and others have shared their expertise in the history of scientific ideas, breakthroughs in physics and astronomy, the lives of great scientists, Constitutional history, current political and social issues, Romantic literature and themes in Shakespeare, American literature and poetry, Abraham Lincoln’s rhetoric, modern China’s growth—and much more. Emeriti have not only shared with seniors what they taught in class for many years before retiring; several have chosen to use the opportunity to explore new interests or long-held hobbies. One scientist presented the music and lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan; another, the discoveries of unrecognized women physicists. Recently, two emeriti—one from the English Department and the other from History—alternated with presentations on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Cleopatra and on the actual historical figures. Come and join us. You’ll receive a small honorarium of $50 every time you present, as well as the genuine appreciation of a student body perhaps closer to you in experience and spirit than any you have ever known. Please contact me directly at [email protected] or call me at 626-376-0300. I’ll be happy to answer all queries.