At JCA’s 2015 Productive Aging Award Dinner on April 26, honorees Arlene and Alan Alda had us thinking seriously about what it means to age productively. Their conversation was also punctuated with plenty of laughter. Clearly, one of the secrets to productive aging is a healthy sense of humor!
Alan (age 79) and Arlene (82) have been married for 58 years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Both halves of this powerhouse couple are as active as ever, vigorously pursuing their careers and personal passions.
Alan and Arlene are inspiring role models for productive aging and a powerful reminder of how important it is for ALL older adults to have the opportunity to stay engaged with the world – to feel vital and valued, regardless of the challenges that growing older may bring their way.
The Dinner is JCA’s only annual fundraising event, and the dollars raised allow us to provide essential services to older men and women throughout the year. This year’s dinner, held on April 26, attracted a record crowd of more than 500!
We want to thank everyone who joined us for this special evening, especially our generous table sponsors. We also thank those who donated to the evening’s Silent Auction, as well as those who showed support for JCA and offered congratulations for our honorees in the Dinner Program.
We thank our Dinner Chairs, Jan Solomon and Ken Simonson, and all the Dinner Committee volunteers and JCA staffers who helped make the event a success. We thank those who donated to the Dinner even though they were unable to attend, and we thank all of you who were there with us in spirit.
To download the 2015 Dinner Program, which includes information about our honorees, table sponsors, Silent Auction donors and more, click here.
JCA is fortunate to have so many loyal friends, and seeing so many of you in one room, coming together to celebrate productive aging, was truly inspiring. And we know there are thousands more who wish they could have joined us!
We were charmed by Sylvia Greenberg, our 2015 Humanitarian Award honoree. We thank her for gracing us with her presence, and for everything she and her family have done for the community. We also thank Neil Kerwin, president of American University, for introducing Sylvia.
Lou Stroller, film producer and longtime friend of JCA, introduced and interviewed Alan and Arlene Alda, and the ensuing conversation was delightful and insightful. There were so many wonderful moments, and we hated to see the evening end.
Here, we’ll just share highlights from Alan and Arlene’s responses to Lou’s final question: “What is your proudest accomplishment?”
Alan said, “I’m working on it now” and that he believes his biggest accomplishment is still ahead of him – quite a statement from the man who played one of the most iconic TV characters of all time and who has a long list of achievements as an actor, director and writer.
>However, Alan is deeply passionate about his efforts to help scientists become better communicators. He founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where he is a visiting professor taking a hands-on role in this important work.
He spoke eloquently about the fact that science must explain itself in a way that average people can understand. He said that if he can do what he’s trying to do on this front, it will matter more than anything else he’s done – a sentiment that earned him a hearty round of applause.
Arlene was left with the last word, and joked she might have made a mistake by letting Alan answer first. She then offered this insight on aging: “When I was younger, I was always on the edge of doing something I wanted to do, but with a great deal of stress. And that stress is something that I’ve gotten rid of as I’ve gotten older.”
These words of wisdom earned Arlene a round of heartfelt applause, as well. But waves of laughter weren’t far behind, as Mrs. Alda concluded with a delightful glimpse into the marriage of true minds: “But I have to tell you, my proudest achievement is when I play Scrabble with Alan and I beat him!”
To view a gallery with more photos from the event, visit the 2015 Dinner event page.