UT OLLI’s Lamp organization welcomes financial writer Scott Burns to campus


Scott Burns, recognized as one of the top five most widely-read financial writers in the United States, spoke on April 5 to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (UT OLLI) at the Thompson Conference Center (TCC) on the university campus. Over 100 members of UT OLLI’s Lamp organization listened and asked questions in a lively, often passionate financial discussion led by Burns. The discussion varied from a promise made by the McDonald’s Corporation to create 50,000 new jobs to the responsibility of our elected political officials to overhaul the U.S. tax system.

“We need dramatic political changes to happen and we have to stop being so partisan,” said Burns, addressing the need for tax reform. “I won’t vote for another Democrat or Republican for the rest of my life. Neither party has served the general public even remotely well.” He then suggested that the answer to our tax woes be found in putting all taxes into a national sales tax, and that each household be taxed based on their standard of living.

Burns ended his lecture with a word of advice: “We, ourselves, are the best [financial] institutions we can trust. All those other institutions out there—government, pharmaceuticals, banks—they are not as durable, trustworthy or as reliable as each of us. We have to treat ourselves, and our judgment and our well-being, as institutions worth fighting for. Be more forceful in the voting booth and in the decisions of our lives – medical care, health care – and not put all of our trust in the financial industry.”

Burns is just one example of the provocative, high-quality lecturers that regularly speak to the UT OLLI organization. Other recent speakers include Dr. Mike Endil of the McDonald Observatory, Torvald Hessel of the Austin Planetarium, and noted historian Bill Brands.

UT OLLI is a program of Continuing and Innovative Education at The University of Texas at Austin. UT OLLI is made up of five distinct organizations: UT Lamp, UT Forum, UT Quest, UT Sage and UT Nova. Members of each organization select the program subjects, book their speakers, and organize the events.

“This is my 18th year in UT Lamp. I’ve seen it evolve over the years,” said Betty Wood. “It has been one of my greatest sources of friendship and associations with like-minded people since retirement. When I say ‘like-minded people,’ I mean those who are curious and interested in the world.”

Boasting over 1,500 members on our campus, UT OLLI was endowed by the Bernard Osher Foundation to provide educational and social benefits nationwide to adults typically age 50 and over. UT OLLI members enroll in a range of non-credit, non-graded short courses offered purely for the love of learning and the promise of connecting to a social and academic environment. History, economics, creative arts, and natural sciences are just a few of the topics covered in UT OLLI.

For further information and to download membership applications, visit the UT OLLI Web site or call 512-471-3124.