Lifelong learning brings seniors to Cal State Fullerton campus

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- They're seniors on campus, but not the kind of seniors you normally associate with college.

Yet, these seniors at California State University-Fullerton are every bit as enthusiastic as their younger fellow students

At 66, retired marketing executive Jeanette Reese loves being back in college.

"I think I'm addicted to learning. I love learning and I think it keeps my brain going," she said.

Reese belongs to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University-Fullerton. Among the 140 courses available are literature, science, computer technology and even politics.

The Vice President of OLLI's External Affairs, Janice Jeng said, "We have a series that's been running for a few semesters. It focuses on the presidency, so that's been quite controversial."

Discussions can get feisty, but volunteer administrator Janice Jeng said that's what keeps her young.

"I'm going to be 72 this year," she said.

Classes are open to anyone over 50, but Jeng's noticed one group where interest is growing. "Especially for the over 80s. And that group is getting larger and larger."

Reese called the institute a good way to age gracefully.

Besides the OLLI program, participants can audit almost any class on campus. In fact, many of them become mentors.

"I think they're so interesting and I love helping them. And I love going to speak at some of their classes. Many of us do that and it's really rewarding," said Reese.

Cal State Fullerton student Kelsi Brink said OLLI participants give her a unique perspective on aging.

"I'm intrigued with why they want to do this and what they're learning inside those classes," she said.

Physical activity is also part of the curriculum. A senior Flash Mob Dance class was Jeanette's idea. "You know I was dancing around in my kitchen all happy and I was like oh my, a senior flash mob," she said.

OLLI is also offered at other locations throughout LA and Orange counties. The $260 annual membership includes campus discounts and parking.
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