An Interview with Osher Lifelong Learning Legacy Society Member Marty Marston
The seeds for Marguerite “Marty” Marston’s interest in OLLI were planted long before she stepped foot on the Arsht Hall campus. Back when OLLI was the Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL), Marty vividly recalls her retired Aunt Nancy raving about the programs and how much she was getting from them, particularly after the loss of her husband. OLLI had given her a purpose and Aunt Nancy’s passion and enthusiasm became embedded in Marty’s mind even though at the time she was too young to participate.
Born and raised in Wilmington, Marty graduated Syracuse University and went on to have a successful career with IKEA, where she worked at the company’s North American Headquarters located outside Philadelphia. When planning her retirement, Marty didn’t want to “just retire;” she knew she wanted to fill her days with something that would stimulate her mind and keep her active. Recalling her aunt’s beloved involvement with OLLI, Marty signed up for classes. Following in her aunt’s footsteps, she fell in love with the special community of lifelong learners.
“I could learn about topics and subjects that were completely different; could do anything I really wanted to,” Marty says. “The classes give new perspectives that I may not have had otherwise, and I can do things just for pure love and enjoyment. Plus, I’ve met great, great people.”
Hiking was one of Marty’ first classes and her fellow classmates hiked in different parks all over the Delaware Valley. She took a lot of history classes, which connected to trips she was taking to Europe. For instance, she took a class on French monarchy before she traveled to Paris and a class taught by Bob Ehrlich about London that she found fascinating. She also took a class on ships and was one of the few females in the room.
As she became more active and engaged, Marty developed a sense of family at OLLI. She is an avid advocate of OLLI’s savvy model of members as facilitators and as hands-on contributors to program and planning. “We’ve all got skin in the game,” she notes. “We’re all contributing at a very different level than if we went to a university. It’s a different level of involvement. I love the format.”
When asked why she recently chose to include a gift to OLLI in her estate plans and became a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Legacy Society, she offered, “I’m giving back of my time, my talent and my treasure. Yes, I’m giving back my time through volunteering and committees, and I brought talent from previous jobs knowledge and experience. And I want to see the money I’ve been fortunate to accumulate go to good use so that OLLI – celebrating 40 years last year – will continue.
“Aunt Nancy was at ALL 30 years ago. I’m here now. I would love OLLI to be there for my niece when the time comes for her. I want it to be there for other people. If something is really important to you – like OLLI – then we all need to do something to keep it so it can flourish and thrive.”
OLLI has indeed become family to Marty in every sense of the word. In April 2021, she married fellow OLLI classmate, John Guglielmetti, who she met in Eric Sallee’s hiking class just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Both widows, friendship sprouted and blossomed into love. We wish Marty and John the very best!