Meet Bill Minter


Bill Minter had never even heard of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes before he was asked to create a program for it.

He did that well enough that in January he was named Abilene Coordinator for OLLI. The previous coordinator left, creating an opening.

“I realized that this is the kind of thing I really like to do,” Minter said, and accepted the offer.

He will host an informational gathering for anyone interested 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Wesley Court, 2617 Antilley Road. 

Purpose of the gathering is to kickoff the spring semester and to highlight the courses that will be available. 

The courses are secular in nature, Minter said, but the content explores “our own mindfulness, meditation, and the preparation for prayer.”

Minter, retired executive director of the Preservation League of Abilene, is a lifelong member of First Central Presbyterian Church. His great-grandfather, W.A. Minter, was an elder and charter member of the first Presbyterian church that opened in Abilene on Feb. 27, 1881–two weeks before the city was founded.

Bill Miinter

What is your background with OLLI?

A I had no idea what OLLI was until Janet Payne mentioned it one day, and suggested that I might have an idea for a course to develop for the program. At the time I was at the Abilene Preservation League. We did a bus drive-by tour of historic homes in Abilene, hosted an update from the Chamber and the City Manager, and most recently gave an in-depth update on the Abilene Heritage Square project for OLLI members. When the previous coordinator, Misha Price, left to pursue her counseling career, I realized that this is the kind of thing I really like to do. Now that we are mostly past the pandemic era, we are trying to rebuild the membership and programming.

Q When were you named the Abilene Coordinator?

A In late December, and I started in January of this year.

Q Do any of the courses have a religion or spiritual theme that might interest readers of Spirit of Abilene?

A Most of the courses are secular in subject matter, not providing the kind of message one would find in a church or synagogue. But within the areas of history and the study of spirituality there is a lot of room to explore our own mindfulness, meditation and the preparation for prayer.

Q Is the March 9 get-together still planned at Wesley Court?

A Yes! We’ll have a kickoff of the spring semester, announcing and highlighting the courses that are available. It’s from 5:30 to 7:00 on Thursday March 9th. Anyone interested in OLLI membership is welcome.

Q Where are the courses taught locally?

A Various locations, including the Texas Tech Health Science Center on Pine Street, Cisco College, and at sites of tours, such as “Secrets of Downtown Abilene.” We usually have a couple of courses per semester that include dinner, and one that is dinner and a movie.

Q Are the classes offered online or do you have to attend in person?

A If they’re in a classroom type format, we offer an online option. In addition, most of the courses that are offered in the other Tech OLLI locations, Fredericksburg and the Highland Lakes area, are available to attend online.

Q What is the cost per course?

A The course fees are usually $10 to $15. If there is a dinner involved, the fee will be higher to cover the cost of the dinner plus the nominal OLLI fee

Q Is there a registration fee in addition to course fees?

A The annual membership fee of $35 allows you to register for any of the courses in the three locations. You’ll receive the printed catalog and access to the library of past online presentations.

Q Anything else you want to add:

A Mayo Clinic study in 2014 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who continue their intellectual enrichment in their senior years are less likely to suffer the onset of cognitive impairment.

“Lifetime intellectual enrichment might delay the onset of cognitive impairment and be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic.”

If you couple that knowledge with the benefits of social connections at all ages, you come up with the overall purpose of OLLI: To encourage lifelong learning and build community.

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