CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales knows the benefits of lifelong learning, and recently sat down with Emmy-award-winning producer and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) member, Lou Gorfain, to answer a variety of questions ranging from why the OLLI program at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is so vital to how a baseball stadium came to be named in his honor.

“You know that’s the thing that we’re most scared of, even more than perhaps losing our sight or losing our physical ability, is losing our mind,” said Morales in the latest episode of “In Conversation: The Voices of OLLI,” a variety of fun conversations between OLLI instructors, members and staff – each about 20 minutes long.

Morales has been named among the 101 Most Influential Latino Leaders by Latino Leaders Magazine, and once served as provost at Cal Poly Pomona and assistant dean at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Before he was recruited to lead CSUSB in 2012, Morales served as  president of the College of Staten Island, the City University of New York.

When asked how OLLI fits into the fabric of the Palm Desert Campus, Morales said, “We are a learning organization and OLLI provides an opportunity for individuals and members of the community that have earned their degrees a long time ago, or perhaps never earned a degree but are interested in learning new things, OLLI just provides that vehicle for that to happen. And I’m just so excited. I think OLLI is just a very special program.”

Morales also discussed the benefit of connecting older OLLI members with younger students at the campus.

“I think we have to involve the entire campus community: our staff, our students, and our OLLI students and figure out ways to work on projects together,” he said. “And those relationships will develop.”

“I think we have to continue working at developing programs of mutual interest … lectures and other activities of mutual interest that would bring the OLLI students and the undergraduate students together in the same room, perhaps focusing on a common interest,” said Morales. “OLLI plays a very important role in providing opportunities for older members of our community because I consider OLLI students part and parcel of our community, and the opportunity to interact, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to go on trips … it’s just incredibly important.”

Communication studies lecturer Lacey Kendall was at the sound control board for the podcast, providing her expertise, and prepared the final podcast for release.

Gorfain was a creative writing instructor at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater and went on to write and produce more than 200 hours of documentary television for major television networks including ABC, CBS and Lifetime.

His writing and producing credits include “I Am Your Child” with Tom Hanks and “The Magic of Siegfried and Roy.” Gorfain has also won two Emmy awards for the Peabody award-winning series, “The Human Body,” and for a parenting series by Barry Brazelton entitled, “What Every Baby Knows.” He has also written for many publications, including New York Magazine and Palm Springs Life.  

Listen to the entire podcast on the Podbean website, “A Conversation with the CSUSB president, Tomás Morales.”

For more information about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, visit the OLLI website.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Strategic Communication at msinger@csusb.edu or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the PDC website at www.csusb.edu/pdc.