Board of Directors Bios
John became an OLLI member two years ago after retiring as the General Counsel of Goodwin Proctor LLP, an international law firm. He has served on the Finance Committee and assisted the OLLI Chair in negotiations with AU with respect to leasing space in the AU building and the Osher endowment. John previously served as an Assistant US Attorney for DC; Chair of the DC law firm, Shea and Gardner; Chair of the Advisory Committee on Rules of the US District Court for DC; and as a member of the Board of the Legal Clinic for the Homeless for 18 years.
An OLLI member since 2014, John Bargeron is currently the Coordinator of the Welcomer program and a member of the Membership and Diversity Committee. He previously served as Chair of the Nominating Committee for the 2019 Board elections and has served as SGR for multiple classes over the years. John’s professional experience includes more than 35 years with the US State Department, specializing in the Middle East and transnational organized crime. He has served in Jerusalem, Cairo, Tel Aviv, and Managua, and as Chief of Civilian Observers with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), the peacekeeping force between Israel and Egypt based in the Sinai. Other foreign affairs experience includes a two-year detail to the Pentagon to work on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Before joining the State Department, John taught modern European history at Cedar Crest College. He has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (graduate) and Emory University (undergraduate).
Myra has co-chaired the AU Relationship Committee and served on the Executive Committee. Previously, she has served as Board Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Personnel Committee Chair, as well as SGR. With degrees from Smith College and Johns Hopkins, she taught economics at the University of North Dakota. She later received a JD from Georgetown Law School and was a legal aid attorney before becoming Assistant County Attorney, then Counsel to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. In 1988, she entered private practice. As a partner at Sprenger & Lang, then Weinberg & Jacobs, she specialized in affordable housing and represented non-profits in employment, business, real estate, financial, and tax matters. She hopes to continue to develop OLLI at AU’s lifelong learning mission as a small “liberal arts college” within the larger AU community.
Martha retired in July 2016 after 47 years in K-12 education. Most recently she served for eight-plus years as Head of School at Washington Latin Public Charter School. In 1991, Martha moved to Washington, DC from Connecticut for her position at National Cathedral School as Assistant Head and Director of the Upper School. Martha has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MAT from Yale University. She serves on OLLI at AU’s Strategic Planning Committee, Lecture Committee, and Membership and Diversity Committee. OLLI has been the highlight of her retirement; she looks forward to helping the organization continue to grow and thrive.
JO ANNE FRIEDENTHAL
I am currently Treasurer of the OLLI at AU Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Committee. I am a retired attorney who specialized in securities, finance, and real estate law. I was a partner in a large San Francisco law firm, and upon moving to DC, was Associate General Counsel for Freddie Mac. I have been a member of OLLI for eight years. I have acted as Study Group Representative for several classes. In 2013, and again in 2016, I served as Chair of the Personnel Committee. I also have been a member of the Nominations Committee and a committee to review the By-laws.
I’ve been taking classes enthusiastically at OLLI since 2013. I am the Chair of the Personnel Committee and a member of the Governance Committee. Over the years, I have often served as a Study Group Representative and a Welcomer for new members. I also have mentored several foreign students in the OLLI-IAP program. I am a graduate of Brooklyn College and Harvard Law School. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the late 1960s. I spent most of my legal career in government—10 years at the EEOC and 25 years at the Department of Justice, where I was a senior executive.
Penny Hansen has been a member of OLLI since 2011 and an ongoing Study Group Leader since 2014. Her ever-evolving course, Today’s Supreme Court: A Class for Citizens, has been presented 14 times with outstanding reviews and full classes each semester. In 2021, she added, “Populism and the Presidency” to her OLLI classes. Prior to retirement, she had a 30-year career at the Environmental Protection Agency, implementing the country’s first recycling, hazardous waste, Superfund, acid rain, and environmental technology verification programs. She was educated at Skidmore College, Johns Hopkins University, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Among her many awards for environmental innovation, implementation and communication was being named one of the three “Pioneers of Recycling in the United States” in the 40-year commemorative issue of Waste and Recycling Magazine. Her post-EPA life focused on consulting on environmental issues domestically and around the world, along with other volunteer work. She is a proud fourth generation Washingtonian and a passionate believer in an educated citizenry.
I have been a student at OLLI at AU for over eight years, have co-taught one OLLI class, and served as Chair of the Personnel Committee. In my prior life, I practiced law for over 30 years at law firms, for a major financial institution, and as Senior Counsel to a Select Congressional Committee. I have served on the board of several non-profits and also as an outside consultant to non-profits with an emphasis on corporate governance, management, and human resources. I am a graduate of Brooklyn College of CUNY and Columbia Law School.
Judy Havemann has been a member of OLLI for six years during which she has coordinated study groups on international policy called the Scholars’ World Series, chaired the Lecture Committee, and served as Board Chair and Vice Chair. She is a retired 30-year editor and reporter for The Washington Post, a former deputy editor of the Wilson Quarterly, and is retired from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A former foreign reporter for The Post, she has edited Virginia, Maryland, and national news, and directed newsroom recruiting and hiring. She retired as the food editor and is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland.
Dave Hensler has been an OLLI member for five years, is currently serving on the Finance Committee and the Investment Subcommittee, and was recently asked to join the Lecture Committee. Dave assisted OLLI in getting a substantial increase in its annual payment from the AU Endowment and in improving the investment return on the Friends of OLLI Fund. In Dave’s view, the Board’s principal responsibilities should be to continue the good work that OLLI’s recent leadership has done in strengthening the OLLI staff, rationalizing the budget process, and increasing the classroom space available to OLLI, as well as to prepare OLLI to meet the unexpected challenges that will inevitably occur. Dave is currently on the Board of Directors of the Duke Ellington Fund and is a Trustee of the Foundation of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Dave is also the outside General Counsel, on a pro bono basis, for the largest Native American scholarship fund. Dave is a Senior Counsel at Hogan Lovells US LLP.
Mark Nadel joined OLLI in 2012. Since then, he has taught several different courses on public policy. His role at OLLI has also included serving as a member of the Curriculum Committee and helping with orientation of new study group leaders. In his prior life, he taught political science at Cornell University, and then practiced it at the Government Accountability Office, ending his federal career as an Associate Commissioner of Social Security. After retirement, Mark taught public policy at Georgetown and was a senior fellow at its Government Affairs Institute. He has a BA from the University of California and a PhD in political science from Johns Hopkins.
John Thorner began his first Board term as a participant in the Strategic Planning process. Concurrently, he worked to align the strategic plan with a financial plan. As part of that plan, he formulated an investment policy for the Friends of OLLI Fund, and now chairs OLLI’s Investment Subcommittee. Additionally, John chaired OLLI’s Membership and Outreach Committee with an eye to growing membership consistent with the strategic and financial plans. In his early career, John worked as a reporter, government lawyer, and association lobbyist. Later, he began leading associations, including those representing dentists, anesthesiologists, and physicists.