Tribute to Dick Harp
Barbara Calhoun, former dean of KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education, worked with Dick Harp to create the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as you know it today. Here, she shares her admiration and respect for the man who is truly the heart of OLLI.
Originally, OLLI was called “Golden University.” I needed someone to coordinate it but I didn’t have money in our budget. Dick said, “I will do that. And I will volunteer to manage it.” In addition to his time, Dick made a discovery that changed everything.
On a flight back from California, Dick read a magazine article about the Osher Foundation rewarding funds for programs that served people 50 and older. He brought it to my office, magazine in his hand, and said, “Should we apply for this?” And I said, “By all means.” It was because of Dick’s initiative that we received our first grant from the Osher Foundation – and it has continued to this day. We also receive an annual college re-entry grant which is used for scholarships.
And it doesn’t stop there: Dick’s conversation on the golf course with Chet Austin, former CEO of Tip Top Poultry, developed into a longtime partnership. Austin is not only an avid supporter of CCPE but also the entire KSU Community.
Dick’s influence is immeasurable. Our OLLI programs and socials are all due to his dedication to lifelong learning and opportunities for adults 50 and older. He has secured many sponsorships so that we can continue to offer events and programs in the community.
Our OLLI Suite in KSU Center is yet another example of how Dick has enhanced our students’ experience. He worked with former KSU president, Dr. Dan Papp, to get dedicated space for OLLI. Without [Papp’s] support, that would not have happened. Dick also got donations from a friend to furnish part of the OLLI space. When you visit the OLLI Suite, you’ll see it bears his name.
We can never thank him enough for all the contributions he’s made to our program. This place is in his heart. He’s contributed so much and he knows so many students in our OLLI program.
He told me his professional background, banking, was a way to make a living. But, until he came into this program, he never felt that he had made a contribution to
the human race. Now he feels that what he’s done has been really important because he’s touched the lives of the people he’s served. He saw how much the older population really appreciated the socials and offering the classes. Dick really made them feel good about themselves.
He’s been involved in everything and has done so many things to help move us forward. You can’t really measure Dick’s influence on the program, but OLLI is strong because of his steadfast support.
Barbara S. Calhoun