Nickie has been taking classes at LLC since 2015 and joined the Board in the fall of 2020. She taught political science at the UW and Green River CC for several years; however, the majority of her career was spent in public service, first with METRO and then with the State Department of Labor and Industries, retiring as a Regional Administrator. She especially values her connection with LLC because it helps her to stay engaged with her community and with ideas.
Steve happily "discovered" the stimulating and engaged LIfetime Learning Center community in 2014, following his retirement as a front office executive with the Seattle Mariners. He began facilitating the Sunday New York Times class in 2016, and was elected to the Board in 2017. He also serves on the Board of North East Seattle Together (NEST), and as President of the 5th Avenue Theatre Foundation. He is a Seattle native and UW alum.
Diane discovered LLC in 2012 and was hooked after one class. She’d retired and been widowed a few years earlier and appreciated finding the LLC community of friends and classes that helped fill that void. She joined the LLC staff in 2016 as Office Manager, drawn to the opportunity to connect with and support LLC’s students, teachers, and activities. Diane retired from her LLC position in 2019 and joined the Board in October 2020.
After growing up in Brooklyn, rooting for the Dodgers, and studying applied mathematics at NYU, Bob moved to Seattle in 1967 to study atmospheric sciences at UW. Encouraged by his wife Carol, he joined LLC’s New Yorker discussion class a few years ago and has taken at least one class per quarter ever since. Bob especially values LLC for the opportunity it provides to engage with friendly, thoughtful others, and enjoys serving on the LLC Board.
Walle Ralkowski is a Seattle native and graduate of the University of Washington. He has volunteered with many nonprofit organizations including the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Seattle International District Rotary Club, Susan G. Komen Foundation and PanCan (pancreatic cancer). Walle facilitates the Sunday New York Times discussion group at LLC and loves that the participants are so knowledgeable and bring diverse experiences and viewpoints.
Jane Lamensdorf-Bucher was so thrilled to discover Lifetime Learning Center in 2019 that she took five classes her first quarter, and had to make tough choices to limit herself to “only” five. Having traveled all over the world and worked on state and local environmental issues, Jane is still excited by the diversity of stimulating topics offered at LLC, from history to literature to music to philosophical, ranging from serious and searching to entertaining and fun.
Susan has been working with non-profit organizations for many years. She was a teacher, dean and a vice president at a community college, and has volunteered for many organizations. When Susan heard about LLC, she wanted to sign up immediately and has now been taking classes for two years. Susan finds that every LLC class is absorbing and enriching. She enjoys the student participation and great conversations, and is impressed by every one of her teachers. “It couldn’t be better,” she said. “No wonder so many people take classes at LLC!”
The Lifetime Learning Center is an important part of Ben’s life. He is a student, a class facilitator, and a board member. Although Ben’s career was in technology sales and marketing, and his higher education degrees in economics and business administration, Ben embraced the LLC mission to enrich your mind and body as a life-long learner. Ben lives by it and participates in it.
Chuck is an instructor at LLC and has taught courses in music, science, public policy and history. Chuck loves his interactions with students who challenge him on a regular basis. LLC is a community of curious, committed, open minded and warm people. Chuck has travelled extensively in Asia and Western Europe. He spent time on freighters in the Pacific before the era of container ships; worked as a logger in Oregon when timber was still a viable industry and managed a cattle ranch. Chuck started a business in 1983 that still employs him today.
Gretchen is so pleased to apply her experience in nonprofit management as a Board member. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and the MBA program at UW, and 10 years raising children, she worked for 27 years at PATH - a global health agency in Seattle. After retirement in 2014, she looked for intellectual challenges, and found the LLC right in her own neighborhood. She signed up for classes, eventually offered her expertise in grant writing, which in turn lead to a position on the Board.
LLC feeds Jan’s love of learning. Seven years ago, after retiring from her law practice, at the urging of a neighbor who had discovered LLC, Jan enrolled in her first two classes. She’s been attending ever since, taking as many as five courses a term... in literature, history, current affairs, music. Jan has learned so much... not only from the dedicated teachers but from her fellow board members and her amazing classmates.