OLLI Membership Development Chair

Diane Rock

I grew up as an Air Force kid and moved around the U.S.  I went to high school in Belleville, Illinois and attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I worked for Anheuser-Busch for 29 years in sales and marketing and absolutely loved my job.  Everyone has a beer story!  I took an early retirement offer in October 2011. 

My husband passed away in October of 2013.  I have 2 sons who were 14 and 16 at the time, and I was the soccer and football mom for four years.  When my youngest son was a senior in high school, I knew I needed to find a new direction for my life because he would be going to college soon.  I had seen OLLI brochures, but only knew one person who participated in OLLI.  I decided to give it a try in January 2017, when I registered for 4 study groups, 11 learning trips and Winter classes! 

My first impression of OLLI was WOW, WOW, WOW …  lots of interesting topics, lots of interesting people, and the utmost in professionalism.  The variety of offerings and the number of smart, active and engaged people are incredible.  I spent my career with a company where excellence was the standard.  I was stunned by the professionalism of the Continuing Education staff.  Every single event, communication, program is done with excellence.  I love that! 

The best thing that’s happened to me since I joined OLLI is that I’m smarter than I’ve ever been … at least that’s what I tell my sons!  I’ve met so many people who I never would have crossed paths with – my life is richer because of these new friendships.  My favorite person is Peggy Cornelius.  She is such an inspiration.  At 91, she still wants to learn and told me “when I don’t want to learn anymore it is time to throw dirt on me.”  What a fantastic attitude.  Bob Yonker asked me to co-facilitate a study group with him, which was a big step.  Greg Peine also encouraged me to facilitate.  Jane Hense has been wonderful in teaching me about OLLI and the Continuing Education staff has been great to work with. 

When my friends and family found out that I attend OLLI, most of them say, “what the heck is OLLI?”  Most people have never heard of it.  I wish others knew how much fun they could have if they participated in OLLI.  I wish they knew the diversity of people and offerings and how much better their life could be by participating.  OLLI makes you a better person.  You get smarter, can see new places and things, stay active, and get connected with a diverse group of people.  

OLLI has been such a fantastic addition to my life that I want to give back.  I like being involved in things I believe in and I believe in OLLI.  I am excited to be on the executive committee and am looking forward to this “new job” as Chair of Membership Development.