Tampa Bay Great Books Council Members
President/Co-Founder: Sara Cohen
Sara has operated an Interior Design firm in Tampa for more than 30 years, after receiving her BFA from Syracuse University and her MA in the University of South Florida. She has served as Tampa Bay Great Books Council President for 10 years, and has served on the Boards of the Life Center and the Jewish Community Center. Sara is a certified Great Books discussion leader.
vice-President: Barbara Brown
Barbara is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, although she has lived all of her life since she was a child in Tampa. Barbara began at USF in 1961 as an English/Education major, and completed her Master’s Degree in English in 1968. Barbara further completed all of the required coursework for the Ph.D in English with a specialty in American Studies. Barbara taught in the Hillsborough County schools as an English, speech, drama, and journalism instructor at both the middle and high school levels and also taught English at Hillsborough Community College. She was honored in 1998 as the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. She is retired with one daughter and two granddaughters.
Treasurer/Co-Founder: Neil Harvey
Neil is a retired U.S. Air Force Medical Officer, with an illustrious record of service in conflicts including Korea and Vietnam. He is an enthusiastic believer in Continuing Education programs for Seniors and the intellectual and social stimulation provided by Shared Inquiry.
Secretary/Co-Founder: Patrick DeMarco
Patrick retired to Tampa after a 30-year career in the Miami-Dade School System, and promptly found himself teaching English and Modern Languages at USF and Hillsborough Community College. He is a certified Great Books discussion leader, and has been the principal moderator for Tampa Bay Great Books programs since their inception. Patrick graduated summa cum laude from Florida State, earned a Master’s in Linguistics from Georgetown, and pursued Doctoral studies at the University of Miami.
Recently retired as the CEO of a technology instrumentation manufacturer, Kevin is a 30 year veteran of the laser and optics industry. He is an avid participant in OLLI courses, having taken more than 20 courses (from both USF and Eckerd) in the last two years. Kevin is a member of the Advisory Board and Executive Committee of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Florida. He is the former Chairman of the Florida Business Incubator and is a certified Great Books Moderator, currently conducting sessions in Temple Terrace and Dunedin. Kevin graduated from Dartmouth College many centuries ago, has been married for 43 years and is the proud father of two boys and the grandfather of several more.
Linda moved to the Tampa area from New York City after retiring from a 17 year management career with the Ford Foundation. She has a BA in English; a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science; and an MBA. She has an abiding love of literature, languages and food.
Joel is a retired physician with undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida, and an M.D. from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. A specialist in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine, Joel was Chief of Medicine at the Bay Area’s largest hospital, Tampa General. Joel is a certified Great Books discussion leader, frequently drawing from his extensive personal library.
George is a lifelong broadcaster, starting as an announcer at the radio station at Brown University, and eventually becoming Regional VP/Florida for a large Radio group. He served as Vice Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters and Executive Vice President of the Radio Advertising Bureau. George teaches several media courses at OLLI-USF and is serving his second term as Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Florida.
Mark has been a Great Books/OLLI member since 2009. “Taking Great Books classes enables me to read and discuss books, plays, essays and short stories I would have likely not read on my own in a relaxed, friendly, no pressure/no tests environment – just the joy of learning.” Mark retired in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as an HR manager. Mark exercises daily, and spends his time traveling, playing and singing jazz standards, meditating, being with family and loved ones, and reading great books. Mark holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York.
Sylvia Sorrentino, Co-Founder and Director Emerita
Sylvia has been a member of the Tampa Bay Great Books Council since its inception and is the unquestionable “Grande Dame” of the organization. A lover of Music, Art, and Theater, Sylvia became enthralled with the power of “shared inquiry” to add new dimensions to literature, and has been active participant in hundreds of discussions, workshops and conferences over the years.
Anne is a Professor Emerita from the University of South Florida, and a licensed psychologist. While at USF as an Associate Professor of Social Work, Anne created the Florida Kinship Center to provide resources, research, and government liaison for grandparents and other relatives responsible for raising children. Anne is an active fundraiser for local and international charities as well.
Tom was raised in Durham, North Carolina, and educated at Duke University. Since 1965, Tom has worked in the “mainframe” computer industry, serving briefly on the board of ITT, and, since 1986, in the publishing and consulting firm he and his wife founded to promote her special IBM knowledge. To counterbalance all that geekiness, he travels, does improve comedy, practices Japanese calligraphy, and serves on several nonprofit boards including a low power radio station WSLR where he hosts a weekly talk show. He’s the facilitator of a decades-old Sarasota Great Books group and continues to enjoy the literature he should have read in college.