Meet OLLI Member Pete McQuaid

Peter McQuaid

Peter McQuaid on a recent trip to Lake Tahoe, and trout.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SDSU offers intellectual and literal adventures for adults age 50 and better. From Holocaust survivors to award-winning writers — and in the case of Peter McQuaid, a computer programmer with top-secret clearance during the Vietnam War — the OLLI membership is diverse and inclusive.

What was your career before you retired?
Public education administration.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a youngster growing up in Boston, in the 1940s, I remember wanting to be a snow plow driver.

When and how did you first learn about OLLI?
Several years ago I was taking classes at the UCSD Extension, and a classmate told me about SDSU’s OSHER (now OLLI) program.

What was the first OLLI class you took and what was your impression?
A philosophy class taught by Dr. Peter Atterton was one of the best extended learning experiences I can recall!

Did any course open your eyes to a subject you previously knew little about?
Several art history classes helped me to “learn how to look” and better appreciate many different genres of art.

Can you speak to the caliber of instructors?
Part of my professional responsibilities involved helping new teachers increase the effectiveness of their instructional skills. Many of the OLLI instructors display mastery of those skills.

Do you have a favorite OLLI anecdote or small-world moment?
I was due to head to Italy one summer when a lecture popped up on the history of Venice, which enhanced my visit there immensely.

Can you speak to the social aspect of learning with like-minded peers?
I probably have turned on a dozen or more friends to the program and we frequently communicate on the quality of course offerings.

Are you on any of the volunteer committees?
Yes, I am currently on the Membership Committee.

What keeps you coming back?
The joy of learning!

What would others be surprised to know about you?
I was a computer programmer with a top secret clearance in the United States Air Force during the early years of the Vietnam War. My duty station was a hardened underground site in the mountains of central Massachusetts.

Would you recommend OLLI to others?
Yes, and I frequently do.

Anything you’d like to add?
Come join us!!!