Osher Institute: Helping add ‘years to life and life to years’

By Paula Zack

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Paula Zack

Elaine Zack (with personal coach, husband, Stan) rows in RIT’s Student Life Center. Zack, a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Center at RIT, is listed in the National World Rowing Rankings for her age group.

Just 28 days shy of her 80th birthday, Elaine Zack decided to give herself an early birthday gift. Actually, it was her husband, a former fencing champion, and son Bill, who coaches rowing at UCLA, who gave her the idea.

Never wanting to sit still, Elaine just rowed her way into Concept 2’s National World Rowing Rankings in her age group. Concept 2 is a leading maker of indoor rowing machines and maintains an online logbook of rowing rankings.

Under the watchful eye of RIT’s head men’s and women’s crew coach, Jim Bodenstedt, and her personal coach (her husband Stan), Elaine rowed 2,000 meters in 11 minutes and 34 seconds. When you consider that the average 18-year-old rower can stroke that piece in eight minutes, her time is very commendable (2,000 meters is approximately 1 miles).

In the spirit of a sound mind and body, Elaine keeps her mind sharp by taking and teaching classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT. She has been physically fit most of her life, has taught classes as a Cooper Institute fitness specialist and has many Empire State medals in her trophy case for cycling and running. At age 60, she ran a marathon in four hours and 50 minutes; at age 75, she added indoor rowing to her repertoire.

A regular at RIT’s Student Life Center, she is well respected and known by many in the fitness center. Often told she is an inspiration to others, Elaine takes it to heart by spreading her philosophy of health and fitness to all who want to know.

With every stroke she pulls and every step she takes, Elaine adds years to her life and life to her years.

Paula Zack is a computer technician at NTID and the daughter of Elaine and Stan Zack. “Viewpoints” presents insight and opinions on issues of relevance to RIT or higher education generally. To suggest a topic for a future essay, contact news&events@mail.rit.edu.