Carnegie Mellon University

Jay Farrell

March 28, 2018

Volunteer of the Week Jay Farrell

By Susan Zelenak

On the first full day of spring this year, as temperature froze in Pittsburgh and snow fell steadily, Jay Farrell was inside, making a pot of lentil chili. He should know about cooking: he was a chef in DC in the 80s. It’s one of several careers that Jay has explored.

A former Pitt student, he also studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and worked for advertising agencies in New York, Seattle, and DC. He then did catering in DC and eventually worked as a copy editor. After writing some plays and submitting scripts to various competitions, he was selected for a workshop for soap opera writing sponsored by Proctor & Gamble.

He saw that a career in playwriting was not to be, and in 1999, returned to Pittsburgh. He currently resides in the Oakland area. When you read the Volunteer of the Week in the Friday Weekly Essentials, odds are 50-50 that it’s Jay’s work. What he enjoys most about this is “getting to know so many people so quickly.”

He became a full-fledged Osher member last fall. This semester, he thoroughly enjoyed Between the Notes, a study of 20th century classical music with Ben Tisherman. “I was exposed to a lot of music that I knew existed but never took the time to really listen to and appreciate.” Another favorite was The Art of Conversation with Susan Morris.

When he’s not taking classes or cooking, Jay loves reading and music, particularly classical. He feels that learning throughout one’s life is important which is why he likes Osher. “It’s an organized way of keeping my brain active.”