2nd Act

2nd ActThe 2nd Act is a program which started in fall 2016 and is designed to offer Bruins in their fifth decade of life and beyond opportunities and resources to engage and learn, optimize health, volunteer and invest in themselves. There are three 2nd Act programs offered each year at UCLA in the James West Alumni Center.

Past programs include:

No Time like Now - Design Your Future Career: John Tarnoff an expert at coaching established career professionals talked through his process for creating a sustainable and successful future career design.  Tarnoff, a speaker for UCLA Anderson School and TedX, interviewed on CBS This Morning, by HuffPost and PBS among others, is inspirational, motivational and creative in his guidance which is forged from personal experience. His approach awakens and facilitate new possibilities within us…


“I loved it!” - Rhonda W.

"The presentation was so insightful! Also, during these uncertain economic times, it was tremendously helpful and timely." - JT, M.S., Higher Ed & Admin Policy

“…another phenomenally insightful and helpful seminar. John Tarnoff’s 2nd Act program was fabulous!” - Rachel P.  Senior Writer-Creative Consultant, MFA, BA, WGA

Better with Age: An expert in cognitive psychology, Professor Alan Castel studies learning, memory and age, with a particular interest in how younger and older adults selectively remember important information. He has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, TedX and UCLA Alumni Day 2019, and is the author of "Better With Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging." Castel offers essential and practical tips to age well by avoiding aspects of aging that negatively impact quality of life. He will also share secrets from "super-agers" about staying sharp and aging preventatively more than just gracefully. 

Watch the video now.


I just wanted to reach out and say how much I appreciated the Second Act - Better With Age program on Zoom.  The program was interesting and informative!" - Tim W.

"I enjoyed your interview with Professor Alan Castel. His two words were quite relevant:  love (who, what, passion) and balance (physical and mental).  Along with these two words, the topics covered in your interview with him meant a lot to me and also gave me pause to reflect how relevant UCLA is to my life." - John D.

"I really enjoyed Prof. Castel's webinar tonight!" - Candice Y.

"It's been almost 60 years since I've had any dealings with UCLA and it was good to be 'back'." – Michael T.

"Good program.  Excellent facilitator and panelist. I am now looking forward to becoming an older man.

Taking Charge of Change: Faced with a major life transition - retirement, empty nest, bereavement, serious illness, etc — learn tools to face uncertainty and change to move forward instead of backward with Bruin Jim Hjort, personal development trainer, mindfulness meditation instructor, psychotherapist, and founder of Comeback Boot Camp.

Discern What’s Real vs. Medical Myth, Exaggeration or Bad Advice: Nina Shapiro is a trusted and respected expert on healthcare matters with patients, medical colleagues and the media. Dr. Shapiro, a surgeon at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital and professor at David Geffen School of Medicine, has published “HYPE: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice—How to Tell What’s Real and What’s Not.” Her goal is to transform patients into savvier and more empowered consumers. 

Older is not spelled O-V-E-R: In the morning, Fritz Coleman, SoCal’s beloved NBC4 News weathercasting icon since 1982, will bring his affable sense of humor to the ‘climate’ of aging (“All that being an icon really means is people can’t remember when you weren’t there…”).  He will be joined by Dr. Linda Lehrer ’71, director of New York Public Programs for the renowned Aspen Institute.Dr. Lehrer will conduct exercises designed to dispel unconscious myths of aging and free participants to reimagine what can be achieved in this life stage.  The afternoon will be a practical session focused on framing a meaningful 2nd Act with the tool kit devised by Dr. Lehrer through her work at the Institute.

Brain Health: Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael, professor and vice chair for research in the UCLA Department of Neurology, a member of the Brain Research Institute and co-director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Center, presented his cutting-edge research focused on how the brain helps itself recover after a stroke and on neural stem cell transplantation advances, making his knowledge of the brain’s vast capability accessible as well as fascinating to the every-day person through his stories and research.

Unlock Your Inner TED: a panel discussion with a TED instructor, TEDx presenter and UCLA’s TED co-curators exploring with those in their 2nd Act the possibility of lending their life experiences to a TED format.

From World Class Films to Class Room: Lewis Teague, director of major movies like "Cujo," "Lady in Red," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Jewel of the Nile," talked about his personal odyssey, which him to UCLA in order to complete his B.A., and studying immunology and molecular genetics in his 2nd Act.

So You Want to Write a Book…: a panel discussion with published authors, a blogger and a writing coach helped attendees discover if they had more than just a passing fancy to pen something meaningful in their 2nd Act.

Live from New York: The 2nd Act: Old is Just a Three Letter Word: an interactive evening led by Linda Lehrer, Director of New York Public Programs at The Aspen Institute. In this interactive workshop, Dr. Lehrer used poetry to challenge one’s thinking about the myths surrounding what is possible in this stage of life, seeing “old” as a journey onward vs. a step backward.

With questions contact: SecondAct@alumni.ucla.edu.

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