News Banner
Electronic Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - September 2010

In This Issue
New Events Calendar!
OLLI Members Run the Show
OLLI Profiles
Instructor Spotlight
E-Reviews: Books
Chicago Jazz Festival
Web sites for OLLI-ites
CAS Initiative: Knowing Animals
OLLI Funnies
Quick Links
New - OLLI Events Calendar

OLLI Illinois Home Page

Study Groups
Lunchtime Lectures

OLLI logo
Editorial Committee: Anna Merritt (chair),  Debbie Day, Traci Nally, Cecile Steinberg, Barbara Meyer (Technical Support)
Please send your ideas, photos, and stories for consideration to

New Events Calendar

We're proud to announce an all new OLLI Event and Announcements Calendar.

The OLLI Calendar now lists OLLI activities and events, as well as those from the University and community that may be of interest to members. Hint: To learn more about an event, click once on the event title to expand the view to include location, a detailed description, and even a map!

If you have suggestions for an event to add, please send the full information, along with a link to the event web page if available, to Janet Summers at

OLLI Members Run the Show

As you know, a major strength of OLLI is that it is member driven.  In addition to the Board of Directors, our committee structure is evidence that many of us are involved in steering the organization.   Outlined below is a summary of OLLI's committees, their main function and those who are serving on them this year.  For a complete description of each committee's charge and the responsibilities of members, go to

Administration and Budget:  Develops financial plans and reports.  Makes recommendations for the fee structure and administration of OLLI. Participates in budget and long-range plan preparation. Dick Koch (Chair), Mary Beastall, Jim Caspary, David Crouse, Kathy Kral, Anne Sharpe, Ashton Waller, Sharon Bryan, Ex-Officio

Curriculum: Develops a well-balanced schedule of courses and peer led discussion groups.  Reviews evaluations to assist in future course/faculty selection; approves course and study group proposals.  Members act as OLLI class hosts.  Bonnie Hudson (Chair), Carol Belber, Anne Heiles, Jerry Hunt, Annette Lansford, Kathryn Marshak, Barbara Meyer, Mary Jo Reik, Christie Schuetz, Wes Seitz, Deb Townsend, Charles Wisseman, Dina Zinnes, Anna Mehl, Ex-Officio, Maureen Reagan, Ex-Officio, Jan Simon, Ex-Officio

Membership:  Plans, implements and reviews activities to recruit and retain members.  Helps to develop and implement programs to attract and retain a diverse OLLI membership.  Plans and participates in marketing activities to publicize OLLI.  Solicits feedback on membership satisfaction and ensures that the needs, concerns and suggestions of members are addressed.  Carol Kubitz (Chair), Liz Abraham, Judy Bach, Ann Einhorn, Susan Feuille, Jo Ann Hodges, Eileen Kohen, Charles and Joan Kozoll, Jean Stout, Joy Thornton-Walter, Patrick Harness, Ex-Officio
Nominating:  Identifies, contacts and recommends potential members for the OLLI Board of Directors and its officers. According to the Bylaws, the committee shall consist of no fewer than three OLLI members. This year's committee will be named at a later date.
Volunteerism:  Researches meaningful volunteer experiences to recommend for OLLI members and makes those opportunities known to the membership.  Solicits member feedback regarding these experiences. Dick Justice (Chair), Bob Boucek, Jan Caspary, Pat. Chapel, Joyce Nagel, Carol Scharlau, Pat Schutt, Jan Siders, Diane Zell, Barbara Meyer, Ex-Officio
Development:  Works with the Director and Board President to plan and implement fundraising activities to help meet OLLI's financial goals.  Identifies needs, establishes fundraising goals and develops a plan and strategies to achieve those goals. Beth Felts (Chair), Debbie Day, David Gross, Cathy Kinser, Anna Merritt, David Sharpe
, Tauby Shimkin, Joe Thompson
These active committees are enhanced by two sub-committees:
The Study Group Sub-Committee focuses on evaluating proposals for study groups and oversees their implementation.  Shirley Crouse (Chair), Jenifer Cartwright, Pauline Cochrane, Craig Cutbirth, Harold Knoll, Sharon Michalove, Sallie Miller, Edna Pirok, Cheri Sullivan, Jean Weigel
The Travel Sub-Committee is discussing new travel opportunities for OLLI at Illinois, following the very successful trip to the Palatinate region of Germany earlier this year and to the Chicago Jazz Festival Labor Day weekend..
Anna Merritt (Chair), Jim and Jan Caspary, Debbie Day, Traci Nally, Kitty and Mike Schlueter

OLLI Profiles

In this issue of OLLI Illinois e-News we are introducing a column we hope  will become a regular feature -- profiles of your OLLI leaders. Because of their positions on the Board of Directors, we decided to lead off with stories about Vice Chair Deb Townsend and Secretary David Sharpe.

Deb TownsendDeb Townsend

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Ann Arbor MI.  Dad was a professor of chemical engineering; Mom was an artist.  My two older sisters and I had all the privileges of living in a wonderful university town and we took advantage of them.  Concerts, plays, sports, excellent teachers and a rich cosmopolitan environment.  All this was part of my education.
Describe your education.  My formal education included graduation from the Ann Arbor High School, a BA and MA from Michigan and a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  My informal education is something else again and much too long for this piece.
Describe your family.  My family today includes two older sisters, a brother-in-law, six nieces and nephews and their spouses, nine great nieces and nephews and two cats.
If you are retired, what did you do before retirement?  I am nearly retired from my second career: psychotherapist in private practice which I have enjoyed enormously.  In my first career, I was a college administrator (dean, vice-president, registrar, etc.) at Beloit and Swarthmore Colleges, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Lawrence University.  Now I enjoy serving on several boards including OLLI, Champaign County Mental Health Board, and I am a singing board member of the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana and Amasong.  I sing in the choir of Community United Church of Christ, too.  I also like to travel (just back from Ireland!), and I am a new docent-in-training at the Krannert Art Museum.  I also like to sit in my garden, read and do Tai'ji.
How long have you lived in east central Illinois?  Since 1982 and in Champaign-Urbana since 1990.  Great Scott!  That's nearly 30 years!  No wonder I have allergies.
What magazines do you read?  Not many.  I read the Psychotherapy Networker, The American BungalowThe Nation, and alumni magazines from Michigan, Wisconsin, Swarthmore and Illinois.  I can't keep up with more.
Recommend a travel destination.  I heartily recommend Door County, WI, where I have camped on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan for many years.  I also recommend Australia for its culture, vitality and beauty.
Describe a remarkable OLLI experience.  My most remarkable OLLI experiences have been facilitating study groups.  We've been reading short stories and the discussions have been lively, interesting, high in intellectual quality and just plain fun. 

Tell me a secret about yourself.   My secret:  Mohammed Ali kissed me in the Drake Hotel in Chicago!
Do you have a Facebook page, and if you do, how many Facebook "friends" do you have?
  No, I don't do Facebook.  

Dave SharpeDavid Sharpe

Where did you grow up?  Summit, in suburban New Jersey.
Describe your education.  I went to the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University (now SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry), where I got my Bachelors in 1960 and Masters in 1963.  After 2 years as a PhD student in Geography at Syracuse, I followed my major professor to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where I finished my PhD, specializing in bioclimatology.
Describe your family.  I have a wonderful family.  I met Anne at Syracuse University, where she was an Art and Design major.  We were married in 1961.  Our children are Peter, a wildlife biologist in California, and Jennifer, a geographer with the U. S. Geological Service here in Urbana.  We have two granddaughters, Annie and Riley, thanks to Jennifer and her partner, Paula.
If you are retired, what did you do before retirement?  Retired from SIUC, Department of Geography in 1998, after 32 years (taught half-time and finished up grad students for 3 more years).  Taught courses in climate, weather, physical geography, interdisciplinary courses in environmental studies program; research in climatology and landscape ecology; chaired department for 15 years. 
How long have you lived in east central Illinois?  3 years (I assume Carbondale doesn't qualify as "east central Illinois") - otherwise 46 years. We moved to Champaign to enjoy our grandchildren. OLLI is a BIG PLUS.
What magazines do you read?  New Yorker, Scientific American, American Scientist, Smithsonian, Sunday NYTimes  - "cover to cover."
Recommend a travel destination.  Anne and I owned a 37 foot sailboat, which we lived on and cruised the Great Lakes for 5 summers after retirement.  The upper Midwest centered on the Great Lakes could accommodate many years of travel, either by land or water.
Describe a remarkable OLLI experience.  Finding OLLI, which began classes the first autumn we lived here, is the first remarkable thing.  The many courses and study groups I've taken allow me to spread my wings; the study groups on sustainability that Kathleen Robbins and I have led give me a chance to use my professional background.
Tell me a secret about yourself.   I worked for the U.S. Forest Service briefly in the early 1960s as a "junior forester."  Anne and I were scheduled to live in a cottage at the Bear Springs Ranger Station on the Mt. Hood National Forest.  We even had the paint picked out to decorate it - the official USFS green you see on all their equipment.  Then we woke up and decided to return to civilization.

Instructor Spotlight: Peter Michalove

Peter MichalovePeter Michalove will teach his third OLLI course this fall, Opera as Drama. He confesses that while he was intrigued with the OLLI program when he first heard about it and talked with Kathleen Holden about teaching a class, he had no idea that he would enjoy the experience so much. The World of Beethoven was well received, and several people in the class asked if he would coordinate a study group on the basics of listening to classical music. Then, with the encouragement of study group participants, he proposed his second course, The Music of Stravinsky.
One might assume from Peter's OLLI offerings that music was his vocation. Not so...he retired in 2006 after a thirty-year career as a business administrator at the University of Illinois. His education, however, focused on music. He grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and started playing the flute when he was 10. For four summers he attended the Eastern Music Festival where he played flute and studied composition. His junior and senior high school bands played pieces he composed. At the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill he majored in music composition, received his master's degree in composition from the University of Michigan, and then came to the University of Illinois for his Doctor of Musical Arts in composition degree. This is where he met his wife Sharon, also an OLLI member and study group leader.
Click on picture for a YouTube video of the performance in the Smith Music Hall.
Performance of sonata
Peter says he composed occasionally during his professional career, but didn't keep up with people in music and didn't expect to get back to it when he retired. In 2007, however, he came across the obituary of a former teacher at UNC who greatly influenced the way he thinks about music to this day. Peter wrote a string quartet in his memory and has continued to compose and once again cultivate contacts in music. Last spring, Anne and Bill Heiles asked Peter to write something for them. His Sonata for Violin and Piano premiered in August with several OLLI members in the Smith Hall Memorial Room audience.
Retirement has allowed Peter the time to again pursue the passion of his youth and to share his knowledge with appreciative OLLI members.

E-Reviews Header
E-Reviews: Books
Hoping to offer a regular interactive column containing OLLI member submissions, we bring you E-REVIEWS. With each bi-monthly newsletter, we'll print reviews on a selected subject from the perspective of OLLI's greatest resource, you. This month, we have reviews about wonderful and special books.
If you'd like to participate in the next E-REVIEWS, please send your review for consideration to  Try to keep the review to 30 words or less. Next month's topic:  Travel Destinations.

From Debbie Day:
eople of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  In 1996, a young Australian rare book expert travels to Sarajevo to conserve the mysterious Sarajevo Haggadah written in Spain in the 14th century. Through a variety of fragments found in the book, she pieces together the story of the book's travels through six centuries. Beautifully crafted, engaging story. Brooks is also the author of March, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the Civil War experiences of Frederick March, the "absent father" in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

From Bonnie Hudson:
Sky Burial by Xinran. (2004). Short (189 pp) non-fiction captivating story subtitled, 'An Epic Love Story of Tibet.' Written by a Chinese writer, who tells the story as told to her by a Chinese female physician whose husband went to Tibet as a doctor with the army in the 1950s...100 days after they were married in Souzou.  The story is of the woman looking for him in Tibet, of her living with a nomad Tibetan family, and the trials of such a hard life.  A lot in a little book.

From Maxine Kaler:
Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  A novel about a young girl trying to escape from the horrors in Nigeria and immigrate to England. I was totally absorbed, and I've been recommending it all summer.

From Mary Kinney:
Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith.  Number 12 in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Precious Ramotswe, the Miss Marple of Botswana, has started a detective agency against all odds and her adventures are full of spirit and surprise.  Any one of these slender volumes are great for an afternoon's entertainment.  Author has also written other series with the same delightful results:  Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries series, the 44 Scotland Street series, among others.  A great storyteller.

From Traci Nally:
One Mountain Thousand Summits - Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2 by Freddie Wilkinson. In 2008, 11 people died climbing K2, 2nd in height only to Everest, but a more difficult climb.  Author interviews survivors, including Sherpas and HAPs (high altitude porters), family of those who did not survive, and many others.  Covers many things: adventure, adventure psychology, media when reporting tragedies, mountain climbers, and the Sherpa and HAP culture.  Mesmerizing.

From Mike Schlueter:
Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell. Intellectuals as a class affect modern societies by shaping opinion and policies on issues ranging from economics to law to war and peace.  However, Thomas Sowell brilliantly documents, with specific examples, how often intellectuals have been proven disastrously wrong and yet are never held accountable. Intellectuals engage in sophistry, which makes the speaker look too intelligent to challenge or debate. Author warns us that intelligence is not wisdom.
Americans in Paris by Charles Glass.  "... adventure, intrigue, passion, deceit and survival under Nazi occupation ... through the eyes of the American citizens who lived through it all."  Covers the 'connected' American citizens during this period, who ran the American Hospital of Paris, the American Library in Paris, the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, etc.  Describes how the Germans methodically drained the city of food, fuel and other supplies, including heating fuel which made winters particularly difficult. An informative peek into history.
New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd.  Author weaves the stories of fictional families through four centuries from the founding of New York City to the present day.  A master of historical fiction.  At 860 pages, he provides hours of historical entertainment. Also the author of London: The Novel
The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.  Two University of Illinois cognitive psychologists use "remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don't work the way we think they do."  Mind opening revelations about how our functional abilities of attention, perception, memory, reasoning, intuitions, etc., are inherently faulty.

From Jan Troutt:

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.  Fiction.  A novel about a family who builds a home with a futuristic model, including a glass room, before the start of World War II in Austria. The story tells of the tragic and shocking events that happen to the people who pass through the glass room.  Mawer surprises you with his endings.  I have read two of his books and can't wait to read more.
Shangai Girls by Lisa See. Fiction.  Story of two Chinese sisters whose lives are completely transformed from a life of privilege to one of survival as China is invaded by the Japanese during World War II.  Full of emotion and history.  I could not put it down!

From Marilyn Whittaker:
Those Who Save Us by Jerma Blum.  Life in Germany during affair yields child who traces history of father.   Very hard book to read but excellent, and I imagine a good depiction of the enormous sacrifices made back then.
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.  What happens to a woman who answers wealthy man's ad for a wife (I've forgotten the time it takes place....maybe 100 years ago).  Excellent.

Chicago Jazz Festival Header

Chicago Jazz Festival

By Carol Bosley

Jazz in Grant ParkWhether a jazz connoisseur or a jazz neophyte, the OLLI Chicago Jazz Festival trip provided a jazz immersion experience for 24 OLLI members during Labor Day Weekend. The four-day program was led by Professor Sam Reese and coordinated by OLLI member Tammie Bouseman, with significant help from Bill Owen of TourGroupPro of Decatur. The group was headquartered at Club Quarters on East Wacker, providing easy walking accessibility to the three venues for the festival --
Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the Chicago Cultural Center.
Jazz ClassroomEach day began with a 1.5 hour class that served a two-fold purpose  - 1) to provide an opportunity for group discussion on and reaction to the previous day's jazz performances and 2) to prepare for the performances participants would hear that day.  Sam's presentations at the class included information on the music and musicians scheduled as well as the strong connection of the University of Illinois to the jazz world as recognized by the number of School of Music faculty and alumni performing at the festival.  

Jazz-PritzerFollowing the class, participants had free time to attend small venue jazz performances on their own at the Cultural Center or Grant Park (or to enjoy an array of other Chicago activities such as the Millennium Gardens, Chicago Art Institute, or Michigan Avenue shopping). 

Jazz-RamseyThe OLLI class then reconnected early in the evening to attend the festival's main performances as a group.  The eclectic performances heard included Ahmad Jamal, Chicago Jazz Band, Nicole Mitchell Black Earth Orchestra, Ramsey Lewis, Chuchito Valdes Quintet, Rene Marie, the Either/Orchestra as well as many others.  After the final performance each evening, those interested continued their immersion at a local jazz club, Andy's Jazz Club on Thursday and Jazz Showcase on Friday.

Attending the Chicago Jazz Festival - where the backdrop by day is one of the most beautiful lakefronts in the country and by night the incredible Chicago skyline - is in itself a great experience.  To do so within the rich and stimulating environment of an OLLI course led by an outstanding professor who is the consummate teacher of jazz, is a matchless learning experience.  And all just a two-hour OLLI class field trip from Champaign-Urbana.

Web Sites for OLLI-ites
Like most of you, we seem to have piles and piles of books and unread magazines lying around - that we'll look at "someday." In the last few years some of us have also accumulated a long list of Web sites that well-meaning friends have told us about; now your OLLI Illinois e-News editors are proposing to add to that list.
Recently we came across an article that we thought might appeal to our readers about the growing trend of retirees "moving back to campus." The author describes several stimulating academic-focused retirement communities around the country. Many are formally connected to colleges and universities but others are not. The site,, is tailored to the interests of the older adult and features articles on health and fitness, money management, second career and volunteer opportunities, and "enjoying the good life". You can read the entire article by clicking here: Moving Back to Campus After Retirement.

Our own Castles and Wine tour of Germany is featured in this article on "Lifelong Learning Network Grows Nationwide."
Have you read anything on the Web recently that you think your fellow OLLI members would benefit from seeing? By all means send them to us and we'll list them as we have space.

Knowing Animals: Histories, Strategies and Frontiers in Human/Animal Relations

Since 1959 the Center for Advanced Studies has promoted scholarly interaction and creative activity across academic disciplines through workshops, seminars and by bringing distinguished scholars, writers and artists to campus to collaborate with University units.  Beginning this fall, their year long annual initiative is devoted to the study of human/animal relationships, and promises an enticing array of events and lectures.

Elephant PosterThe series kicks off with a remarkable performance piece from September 23 - 27,  The Unreliable Bestiary: Elephant created by Deke Weaver from Art and Design, with a discussion moderated by Jim Elkins of the Art Institute of Chicago on the final evening on September 27. 

"From burial rituals to subtle interpersonal communications to post-traumatic stress, elephant and human societies have remarkable similarities.  Staged in a livestock pavilion - the sort of place where the 4-H Club would judge the prize hogs in a state fair ... it's gorgeous. ELEPHANT will feature video projected on two 90-foot long screens, a marching band's drum corps and an enormous elephant puppet. This Creative Capital supported performance, part of the Center for Advanced Study's 2010-11 series, is going to be weird, haunting and one-of-a-kind."

(See blog for more information on the project)

The CAS initiative continues with a lecture at the Spurlock Auditorium on September 27 by Jim Elkins on How Animals Use their Eyes. "This is an experimental lecture, intended to suggest some of the strange properties of the ways we see the world. The first half of the lecture gives some simple experiments that everyone can try, which demonstrate the limits of human vision. The second half is a tour through part of the animal world, showing how some animals' eyes work."

Other events will bring scholars and experts from all over the country to discuss intriguing subject such as "Empathy in Animals and Humans" on October, 12 "Honeybees and the "Biopolitics of Terror" on November 9. The spring semester will explore other topics such as animals and the law and the origin of species, and a lecture from the head veterinarian of Disney's Animal Kingdom!

For more information see the Center for Advanced Studies Web site. And of course we'll post upcoming events on the OLLI calendar as well.

Mystery Photo - the Percival Superior School

That's the name of the building shown in our "Mystery Photo" in the last issue of the newsletter.

One of your fellow OLLI members, who wishes to remain anonymous, reported that he attended the school back in 1948-49.  Percival Superior was a one-room schoolhouse that contained grades one through three. It stood at the northwest corner of First Street and St. Mary's Road, i.e., across the street from where OLLI is now located. According to our correspondent:

"Our teacher was Miss Schenke (not sure of that spelling). In those days First Street, between Florida and St. Mary's Road, was only covered with gravel, and cows grazed in the field on the east side of First. The last I saw of the school was when they were building the big new white sports arena - the flying saucer - and I came upon the wreckage of the old building, with the sign over the door showing the name of the school, among the debris."

Mystery Photo

OLLI Funnies
 Olli Funnies

OLLI Funnies are created by David Zell.