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A photo of the late Linus Pauling and his family taken by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s artist-in-residence Marcia Lieberman. Photo by Marcia Leiberman, Artist in Residence

Baby Boomer U

Student Betty Burr rises from her chair, rearranges her cardigan squarely on her shoulders, adjusts her glasses and takes a deep breath before delivering her pitch to her classmates.

"You're retired, the kids are gone -- it's time to do what it is that you really want to do," she says. "It's a wonderful, glorious time of your life."

Burr, who is in her early 60s, is describing her entrepreneurial vision: a consulting business designed to help retirees transition into new careers.
She developed the business plan in "Creating the Work You Love by Becoming an Entrepreneur," one of a dozen classes offered by SFSU's new Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Supported by a grant from the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation, the Institute offers courses, lectures and volunteer opportunities for those age 50 and older who have bigger things in mind for life's second half than bingo and lawn bowling.

The Foundation supports similar institutes across the country. SFSU's Institute is run out of the College of Extended Learning. Classes are held at the University's Downtown Center, 425 Market St.

Courses in art, international affairs and current events, storytelling, aging and other subjects are taught by retired faculty from SFSU and other Bay Area universities. The cost is $200 for up to three courses per semester.

Burr says the entrepreneur class has given her a lot of new ideas. One that she's particularly excited about would be to hold a workshop for seniors at a health club. The club owner has expressed interest, Burr tells the class, but she hasn't said yes just yet.

"You're doing a great job of networking, Betty," says her instructor, Mary Furlong. "You've given the pitch, then comes the follow-up and the hard part -- the close."

Classmate Juanita Rusev, 62, is thinking about starting a tour business that would take participants back to famous hippie haunts from the Summer of Love. Rusev, an SFSU alumna who recently retired from teaching high school, says she doesn't feel any pressure -- about starting a new career or growing older.

Even if your body starts to slow down, she says, "Inside you're always 16."

-- Adrianne Bee

Spring classes begin Feb. 23, 2004.
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