OLLI in the News

From Sand Dunes and Discrimination to Million-Dollar Homes and Diversity

By Joe Castrovinci

February 9, 2024

The Sunset is San Francisco’s largest neighborhood, but it’s hard to get lost here. In a neighborhood where streets are numbered or alphabetized, it’s always easy to know where you are, no matter how blinding the sun, dense the fog, strong the wind or dark the night.

Not much more than 100 years ago, it was a very different story. At that time, more than half of San Francisco was covered in sand dunes, and no place was more mysterious, remote or forbidding than what was then known as the “Outer Lands” or “Outside Lands,” an uninhabitable “cold desert.”

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


Osher Lifelong Learning Serving Older Adults for 20 Years

By Joe Castrovinci

October 10, 2023

Amid plaudits from Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and others, Osher Lifelong Learning at San Francisco State Enters its Third Decade

If you are 50 years old or older and looking to make new friends and/or kick your brain into a higher gear, now is an excellent time to get acquainted with one of the Bay Area’s treasures, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at San Francisco State.

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


Osher Lifelong Learning at SF State celebrates two decades of service to older adults

Author: Osher Lifelong Institute at SF State

February 19, 2023

San Francisco, CA, February, 2023 ‐‐‐ One of San Francisco’s treasures, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at San Francisco State, has reached a major milestone: two decades of service to people who are fifty and above. OLLI does that through classes, interest groups, outdoor activities, lectures, outings, and other activities.

Programs such as OLLI at SF State make San Francisco a great place to live and grow older, and explain why Forbes recently named San Francisco as one of the twenty‐five best places to enjoy your retirement.

Read the story at San Francisco State University


The 25 Best Places To Enjoy Your Retirement In 2022

By William P. Barrett, Forbes

September 16, 2022

Forbes screened more than 500 locations in the U.S. for everything from climate change risk to availability of doctors to crime. We then compared those that made the cut for what they offered in the way of leisure pursuits—from the arts, learning and fine dining to hiking, skiing, sailing and golf.

Read the story at Forbes (OLLI SF State is mentioned under "San Francisco"!)


The Unofficial Historian of SF’s Quirky Side

By Joe Castrovinci, Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

August 15, 2022

When she moved to San Francisco in 1982, Lakeside resident Monika Trobits immediately fell in love with all the usual things – the weather, the views, the people, you name it. But in time she developed a deep fascination with the stranger and more unusual aspects of life in the city. She decided to launch an informal second career studying, touring, and teaching about some of the odder aspects of life in the city by the bay.

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


Long Bridge Superhighway of Yesteryear

By Joe Castrovinci, Potrero View

August 2022

San Francisco has long found creative ways to solve complex ways, including, in the 19th Century, development of the Long Bridge.

“A lot of locals have never heard of it, but it was an architectural wonder that solved a huge problem the City faced in the 1850s and 1860s,” said Linda Day, an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute teacher.

Read the story in the Potrero View


The world in one 55-acre garden

By Joe Castrovinci, Marina Times

May 2022

Spring has sprung and the outdoors are calling to us — even in foggy San Francisco. If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy the warmer weather, we’ve got a suggestion — check out the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. Its 55-acre garden is incredibly beautiful, and gives visitors a chance to see and enjoy plants from all over the world.

We’ve also got the perfect guide: Tania Pollak, who teaches ecology at San Francisco State University and often takes groups of students to the Botanical Garden to study its 8,000-plus plants.

Read the story in the Marina Times


A Life Spent Following Her Bliss

By Joe Castrovinci, Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

April 6, 2022

“I felt like I had landed on Mars. It was all there – alternative medicine, Eastern religions, mindfulness, meditation, ecology, encounter groups and so on. We take these things for granted today, but they were strange, even radical, ideas back in the 1960s.”  

That is longtime Sunset District resident Lynne Kaufman talking about her first trip to the Esalen Institute, a holistic education center in Big Sur. 

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


Kathy Bruin brings a life of creative endeavors and adventures to her role as OLLI director

By Jan Robbins, San Francisco Senior Beat

March 25, 2022

When Don van Druten rumbled up to Kathy Bruin’s elementary school in his 1949 truck, she and some of the other fifth-graders piled into the truck’s bed, and off they’d go to his house on Lancaster Road in Walnut Creek. There, he would show them how to whittle wood and his wife, Gale, would teach them how to make costumes, kites, and dolls.

“We called the van Druten’s house ‘Lancaster Castle’,” Bruin, now 60, recalled. “The house had a Bavarian-style clock tower; a bell tower with a rope that hung in the living space for spontaneious ringing; turrets and a rainbow painted on the kitchen floor.

“We became its loyal subjects. It was a magical time.”

Read the entire story


Making the Most of the COVID Lockdown, Richmond Author Pens New Book

During Lockdown, Former ACT Director Writes Book, Designs Course

By Joe Castrovinci, Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

January 12, 2022

If you live in San Francisco, there’s a good chance you have heard of, or maybe even seen or met, Richmond District resident Carey Perloff

For 25 years, she served as artistic director at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT), the Bay Area’s premiere acting company. But that is just part of her story. She is also a playwright, producer, author and teacher. While ACT director, she is the person who brought the company back from disaster after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake all but destroyed its Geary Street theater and saddled it with an enormous debt.

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


Six films worth watching right now

Uplifting documentaries to get you through the winter

By Joe Castrovinci, Marina Times

December 2021

Covid got you down? Not looking forward to winter and — if we’re lucky — lots of rain? Or maybe you’re back in the office and miss the good old days of working from home?

If you’re feeling low, we’ve got just the ticket to pick you back up: six movies that have lifted spirits — and changed lives — for decades. Our guide to these movies is longtime San Francisco resident Michael Fox, who has devoted his life to studying and writing about films, especially documentaries, and works as a film journalist and a critic for KQED Arts and Culture.

Read the story in Marina Times


A Life at the Movies

By Joe Castrovinci, Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

September 1, 2021

Sunset resident celebrates women’s growing prominence in film

Technically, Mary Scott retired from teaching at San Francisco State University nine years ago. But one of the subjects she taught—film—is also her lifelong passion, so Scott has continued to learn and teach her way into a very active retirement. Today the long-time Sunset resident is deep into a second career teaching 50+ seniors at San Francisco’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. And most of the courses she leads now celebrate our fascination with motion pictures, and the growing (and long overdue) prominence of women in the film industry.

Read the story in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon


From Medicine to the Fine Arts: Retired Glen Park ER doc launches new career studying (and teaching) art

By Joe Castrovinci, Glen Park Association

September 5, 2021

Retired and on the hunt for a new hobby? Looking for a way to give back to the community?  Long-time Glen Park resident Charlie Goldberg has some ideas you may find useful.

For almost thirty years, Goldberg worked at Kaiser as emergency room doctor. And while he was always interested in the fine arts, a fortuitous encounter with one patient helped launch him into his second, post-retirement career as a teacher and docent.

Read the story in Glen Park Association


Letter to the Editor: Travel the World Without Leaving Home

By Joe Castrovinci, Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

June 8, 2021


SF resident and retired professor James Kohn travels around the world virtually—and is busy showing others how to do it.

When COVID hit, James Kohn would have been a great person to take into lockdown with you. That’s the case because he’s traveled the world virtually, from the comfort of his home on nearby Twin Peaks, and he hasn’t done it in economy—he’s gone to world-class destinations with some of the best guides anyone could hope for. With Kohn by your side, lockdown would have been interesting and possibly even fun, thanks to these virtual travels.

Read the story in the Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon