About Us


2019-2020 Board of Advisors, OLLI-USF's Leadership Team

The OLLI Board of Advisors' mission is to ensure the effectiveness and continuity of OLLI-USF by guiding decision making, enabling program excellence, responding to the membership, and promoting member participation. Sharing leadership with the OLLI staff, the board is future-oriented, continually striving to improve while addressing present challenges and opportunities.

View our Board application packet! Nominations accepted through Feb. 28, 2020.

View our bylaws. 

View a summary of our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan.


Phyllis Alpert, Chair, served as OLLI Vice Chair during the 2018-19 year. After moving to Tampa several years ago, she discovered OLLI classes and, with her usual energy and passion became involved in classes and governance. Phyllis comes to OLLI after a career of more than 30 years in the Miami Dade Public Library system. As assistant director there she was responsible for managing the main library and for system-wide collection development, automation and training for all 49 branches. With her masters degree in Library and Information Science, she applied her extensive skills in research and database searching to strategic planning initiatives there. Once in Tampa Phyllis was appointed by the Board of County commissioners to the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library Board, where she serves as Vice Chair and focuses on planning, policy and budget. She states that public libraries, like OLLI, are involved with fostering lifelong learning.

Kevin Chittim, Vice Chair, retired after a 40-year career as an executive in the laser, optics and healthcare industries, most recently as the CEO of technology companies in New Hampshire and Florida. He has served on numerous college and community boards and is an avid participant in all things OLLI, at both USF and Eckerd College. He moderated his first course for OLLI-USF in the winter of 2017 and has taught many courses since then.

Bruce Gobioff, Secretary, Strategic & Operational Planning Committee co-chair, holds a masters degree in the Management of Technology from MIT and spent nearly 50 years in the information technology field prior to retiring in 2015. He spent 35 years with IBM in technical and management positions developing software for mainframes and personal computers. Bruce is an avid OLLI course participant, particularly those courses that emphasize group discussion, where "you learn as much from the students, many of whom have interesting backgrounds with different points of view, as from the teacher." He taught his first class for OLLI-USF on the history and future of innovation in information technology, and has created a new and well received OLLI class, “Antarctica, Earth’s Last Frontier.”

Nancy Stuart, Board Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair, has an MBA from the University of Chicago and has held financial management positions in child welfare, manufacturing, banking, behavioral health, and educational fields. She served 12 years on school boards with two years as chair, and is a previous OLLI board member. Nancy was Chair of the OLLI Board when it created the valuable OLLI Leadership Class and led the class for several years, and she led the board in developing its mission statement and operating principles. She taught Life Story Writing for OLLI, led the Nominating Committee, and served on the Curriculum, Reflections, and Bylaws Committees. Nancy has taken a wide variety of OLLI courses (which led to an OLLI Renaissance Certificate).  She travels regularly with her granddaughters and with OLLI.

Committee Chairs

Lewis Alpert, Development Committee, holds a BA in Fine Art & Design from The George Washington University and Corcoran Gallery School. While searching for a suitable career in art, he was offered an opportunity to begin his career in fundraising and development. Lew had major fundraising responsibilities working for Brandeis University, B’nai B’rith International, Florida International University, and local and international organizations. Having lived in Miami, Florida since 1979, he moved to Tampa in 2012. Lew says he has made many friends at OLLI, enjoys the classes each semester, and is excited to be able to assist our OLLI in raising vital support for our growth.

Robyn Cheung, Social Events Committee Co-Chair, was born in New Jersey and grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. An alumna of the University of Kentucky, the University of Pennsylvania and USF, she earned a PhD in nursing. She had a rich career working in most areas of nursing, as a bedside nurse, case manager, nurse researcher and director of nursing practice. In 2016 Robyn retired and relocated to Tampa to be with family – two daughters and five granddaughters. These days she is enjoying having her family around her very much. Robyn loves reading and politics.

James Dodge, Travel Opportunities Committee Co-Chair, was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. Jim worked for thirty-one years in an electrical utility before retiring in 1998. He worked for thirteen years in nuclear power plants and eighteen years in the control center of the bulk power operations. After retiring, Jim graduated from National-Louis University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Business in 2000. Like most retired people, he started his own consulting company to assist those in the electrical utility industry for several years. Jim and his wife moved to “sunny” Florida in 2002. For about seven years he worked in the electrical industry as a compliance auditor and then as compliance audit manager before retiring for his third and final time. Jim has been an OLLI member since 2014.

Patricia Dodge, Travel Opportunities Committee Co-Chair, was born in Chicago and raised in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She worked as an Executive Secretary at the Nalco Chemical Company. While raising three daughters and working full-time, Pat decided to get her college degree and graduated from National-Louis University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Business in 2000. In 2002, she and her husband moved to “sunny” Florida. For eight years she did volunteer work at the Pasco-Hernando Hospice center. Pat has been an OLLI member since 2015. Since joining OLLI she has been enjoying her volunteer work along with taking a variety of classes.

George Hyde, Membership Committee Chair, is a lifelong broadcaster, former senior executive for one of the country’s largest Radio groups, and a volunteer and staff leader for the two largest Radio industry associations in the world.  A native of Providence, RI, and a graduate of Brown University, George has taught more than 25 OLLI courses and served as OLLI Advisory Board Chair. 

Cath Mason, Program Planning Committee Interim Chair, is OLLI’s Program Assistant. Cath coordinates production of the OLLI catalog and is the founder and managing editor of the OLLI blog, OLLI Connects. She served as a member of OLLI’s Faculty Support Team for several years. Before moving to the US from the UK in the mid-90s Cath developed training programs for a non-profit youth training organization in Liverpool’s inner-city. She then took the UK equivalent of the bar exam, worked for a general law practice and then as a solicitor in the legal department of Royal Life Insurance. She has a BA in English and American Literature and a Bachelor of Laws. Cath combines her passion for OLLI with her passion for poetry and has moderated several poetry courses for OLLI-USF. Twice a month she facilitates a poetry discussion group at the Jimmie B Keel Regional Library.

Kathy Palmer, Social Events Committee Co-Chair, was born and raised in Rhode Island and has lived in Taiwan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Okinawa, Montana and finally Florida. She is a Katharine Gibbs College graduate and studied at the Far East Division of the University of Maryland in Okinawa. Many of her career years were spent working for the federal government, at the Department of Defense Schools Headquarters in Okinawa, at the IRS and at the Tampa VA with the Homeless Women Veterans Program. Kathy owned a deli in downtown Tampa and had a catering business. She likes to volunteer and serves as treasurer for the Sacred Heart Council of Catholic Women. Kathy loves the variety of courses and the social side of OLLI and that OLLI offers something for everybody.

Diane Russell, Volunteer Management Committee Co-chair, is a proud Chicago native and Cubs fan. Diane lived in New Haven, CT and worked at Yale University and the New Haven Housing Authority. She lived in Tbilisi, Georgia in the former USSR for six months in 1979-80. During her 30 years of employment at USF, Diane worked as Human Resources Coordinator in Classification and Employment Services, then became a Career Counselor in Career Services after earning an MA in Guidance and Counselor Education from USF. Since retiring from USF and joining OLLI in 2014, Diane has been volunteering as a proofreader for the OLLI catalog and is a regular contributor to OLLI Connects. She has served as Recruitment and Post-Orientation Chair on the Volunteer Management Committee since 2016. In her spare time, Diane sings, is a Stephen Ministry Leader, and enjoys movies, theater and theme parks with her husband, Tom.

Michael Viren, Strategic & Operational Planning Committee co-chair, retired after almost 50 years as an engineer, economics professor, salesman and entrepreneur. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD in economics. Mike previously served on the board of directors for several companies, four of which were start-ups, and remains active in a family charitable foundation. He also designed power plants and directed Missouri’s Public Service Commission. An active OLLI-USF participant over the last 6 years, Mike finds the idea of seniors teaching seniors exciting and very enjoyable, and has taught a variety of OLLI courses in both liberal arts and technology.

Diane White, Volunteer Management Committee Co-Chair, is a proud USF alumna, having graduated from the university with a Masters Degree in Education. She retired from Verizon after 28 years in Information Technology as a systems engineer and project manager. Currently she writes and develops curriculums for a wide variety of management subjects including project management and process improvement. In addition, she has co-authored a book on project management. Volunteering is a life-long passion for Diane, who has led many international and local non-profit and volunteer organizations. Diane joined OLLI in 2014 and, after taking the Leadership class, she joined the Volunteer Management Committee. Diane  teaches technology classes for OLLI on a wide variety of subjects and is always searching for new ways to use technology to connect us to people and information around the world.

At-Large Members

Vicki Adelson has been an active member of both OLLI-USF and OLLI-Eckerd since 2014. Vicki chaired a North Pinellas County Planning Committee for OLLI-Eckerd and has also been active in the North Pinellas County League of Women Voters. She served on the Clearwater Affordable Housing Committee for several years and is secretary of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Tampa Bay. Vicki is an accomplished grant writer, having secured millions in federal and state dollars for not-for-profit organizations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. A resident of Clearwater since 1980, she has held a number of high-level administrative positions with local governments and various not-for-profits. Vicki has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

 Joan Weaving embarked on a successful business career as the first woman Product Manager for Nabisco, Inc., and a Corporate Vice President for Equitable, before starting her own consulting company in 1988, specializing in leadership development and executive coaching for major corporations. Joan has been an active OLLI participant and has played a key role in the conceptualization and execution of the annual Board of Advisor's retreat.

Sara Emma Zimmerman served the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a teacher of writing and comparative literature for 22 years during which time she received a Wisconsin prize for innovative teaching. Sara created interdisciplinary courses, published in scholarly journals, and developed fresh approaches for teaching undergraduates. Following early retirement from UW-M in 1998, she began a path to parish ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, received a Master of Divinity, and was ordained. In 2009, she received a Doctor of Ministry from the Meadville Lombard School of Theology. Sara served churches in Florida before retiring from ministry in 2013. She led her first course for OLLI-USF, "Introduction to Conversational German" the Spring-Summer of 2017 and continues to offer German and interdisciplinary courses. In 2019 she developed and taught a new course on the 100th anniversary of the German Bauhaus.