PALM DESERT —At 102, Sam Schwartz drives himself to classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus.

He done so for the past 15 years, which “keeps the mind sharp.”

Some of his favorite class topics include politics, world religions, history, art and film.

“I always want to keep learning and OLLI helps me do that,” said Schwartz. “I move slowly, but I get there.”

Learning Keeps Mind of 102-Year-Old Sharp

Sam Schwartz

Schwartz says that, “OLLI gives me the opportunity to be with people who feel the way I do. They are well-travelled, educated and have a zest for learning.”

Schwartz was born in 1917 in Montreal, Canada, to parents who had recently emigrated from Russia. At the age of 5, his parents moved the family to Los Angeles where he would reside until 2001 when he retired in Palm Desert. Having earned an engineering degree at USC, Schwartz spent his professional career working as an aerospace engineer, bidding government contracts for the United States and many other countries throughout the world. Schwartz enjoyed his work so much that he waited until he was 82-years-old to retire.

Schwartz and his first wife, Rosalie, were married for 57 years prior to her death. The couple had two children and three grandchildren. The couple travelled extensively throughout their marriage and enjoyed dancing together, particularly ballroom, square and Latin dancing. He was always learning something new.

Following Rosalie’s death, Schwartz married his second wife, Ann. They have been married 18 years. Ann,  like her husband, enjoys being active. She celebrated her 101st birthday earlier this year.

Schwartz says the secret to his happy life is that, “I’m just happy by nature. I travelled the world, I have been blessed with two wonderful marriages, and I loved my job. It doesn’t get luckier than that.”

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is a program designed for adults 50 and older who want to experience learning for the fun of it. OLLI offers non-credit, university-level courses, but without the grades, tests or homework. Membership is open to adults who enjoy learning, regardless of their educational background.

To learn more about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, visit the Institute’s website by clicking here.

Image Sources

  • Img_0011: CSUSB
  • Sam Schwartz: CSUSB