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Electronic Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -
April 2011
In This Issue
Basic OLLI Info
Facebook: OLLI's other on-line resource
Instructor Spotlight: Fred Stoltzfus
Profile: What (Actually "Who") Makes OLLI Run?
OLLI in the Science Lab
A Testament to Our Members
E-Reviews: Your Favorite Movies (Part 2)
Olli Funnies
Quick Links
OLLI Events Calendar

OLLI Illinois Home Page

Study Groups
Lunchtime Lectures

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

Basic OLLI Info


The general OLLI website can be found at
The OLLI membership cycle is July 1 - June 30.  Renewals may be paid securely online at


If you prefer, you can download a form at and mail it to the office -- 1800 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820. For membership inquiries, call Brenda at (217) 244-9141. To ease the course registration process, members are encouraged to renew their memberships as soon as possible.
Spring study groups are scheduled for March 28 - May 16.  For a listing of these groups go to  A variety of topics are included; and remember that as a member you may enroll in these classes at no extra charge. 
Summer lunchtime lectures and study groups are listed at  The next session of study groups is May 30 - July 18.  If you are interested in proposing a future study group, please contact Janet Summers at or fill out a study group proposal form, which may be found at This session of study groups will be publicized to members starting  Wednesday, May 11.
Fall classes will begin September 12 and end November 4, 2011. The Fall course schedule will be posted on the OLLI website on April 25. OLLI members can begin registering for classes on Tuesday, May 10. Please remember that you must renew your OLLI membership prior to registering for classes. Members will receive an invitation to register for courses via email early on the morning of May 10.
Computer lab tours at NCSA and Blue Waters will be available in mid-May; the tour at NCSA is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at 2:00, and the tour at Blue Waters is set for Wednesday, May 25 at 2:00.  If you are interested, please contact Brenda.
Library tour dates will be announced soon. 
OLLI Illinois e-News is our quarterly electronic newsletter -- member-written and produced. OLLI Illinois members are automatically signed up to receive it when they join, but the mailing list is open to all who are interested in OLLI Illinois and its programs.  Past issues of the newsletter can found on the OLLI website.   

See how important that OLLI website is???????   

Visit it soon if you aren't already a regular visitor!!!!!!!!! 


Sign up for OLLI Illinois e-News  if you are not yet a member.



Facebook: OLLI's other on-line resource 


Facebook logoDo you have a Facebook account yet?  More  OLLI members are joining Facebook every day in order to keep in touch with family, find long-lost friends, play games, or bridge the generation gap with their grand-kids.  They're learning how to get breaking news and gain insight into current events; follow celebrities or politicians; support causes; and in true lifelong-learner fashion, to explore this phenomenal emerging technology.


You don't have to join Facebook to view our page, but if you set up your own account and become a fan of OLLI Illinois, you'll get OLLI announcements and notices about interesting local events on your News Feed.


Visit OLLI Illinois on Facebook  


Instructor Spotlight: Fred Stoltzfus 

Fred Stoltzfus Picture "I believe that everyone is born to sing. We are all hardwired with the physiology and the impulse to sing. Unfortunately, many of us were told at a critical point in our youth 'you can't sing, so just mouth the words.' This brutalization of our innate capacity for natural talent diminishes both the person and his or her ability to sing."
Professor Fred Stoltzfus, the U of I's chair of Choral Music, is deeply committed to teaching singers of all levels. Oldest of six children, he grew up on two midwestern farms. He first studied music at Goshen College in Indiana, where he was inspired by a teacher to move to Germany for nearly five years of further training (and the equivalent of an M.A. degree) in vocal pedagogy at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Detmold.   


After teaching for three years at the University of Guelph, he earned a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) at the University of Iowa and then taught at McGill University in Montreal for eleven years before coming to Illinois. In between bouts of education, Fred expanded his horizons and supported himself by working as an admitting clerk in a Colorado hospital, a carpenter in a cabinet-making shop, teaching English as a second language, and being a ski bum.

 Fred is "captivated by the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual quality of choral music." This semester he offered Gregorian Chant to an enthusiastic group of OLLI students in an interactive format that combined mini-lectures on the history of chant with vocal instruction and group singing. This music, which forms the basis for all Western music, is accessible to students at all levels of musical training because it has a limited range (only an octave and a third), it is sung in unison, and it lacks extremes of dynamics and articulation. Chant also has a meditative and spiritual quality that is soothing and centering for the participants.  


For Stoltzfus, the experience of singing chant embodies one of his favorite quotes from the sixth century A.D. Roman statesman, Boethius: " appears without doubt that music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desire. For this reason, the power of the intellect ought to be summoned so that this art, innate through nature, might also be mastered and comprehended through knowledge" (De institutione musica). Luckily for OLLI students, he will offer this course again in the fall of 2011.
One of Fred's three sons is following him into music. Andreas (26) plays both Baroque and modern trumpet and is about to enter a DMA program. Jonathan (29) is a chemical engineer for Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, and Sebastian (23) works as a nurse in a Montreal hospital and hopes to be the physical therapist for Vancouver's professional hockey team.
What does Fred Stoltzfus do in his spare time?  He cooks, reads extensively, writes poetry, and travels to Paris, France, whenever he can. There, with very little encouragement, he will share his favorite haunts and steer you to a store that sells French tablecloths and cooking gear, a great bookstore (Shakespeare & Co.), and an excellent crepe restaurant.


Profile: What (Actually "Who") Makes OLLI Run?


As OLLI members, we take pride in our contribution to the activities and programming of our organization.  But our participation would come to naught without the support and talents of two remarkable women -- the OLLI staff.


JanetHave you signed up for a study group this spring?  The process is really simple, thanks to the work of Janet Summers, OLLI's community outreach director.  She coordinates the entire program, working with the sub-committee to select and organize all the groups. Janet also provides staff support to the volunteerism and membership and marketing committees, helps with event planning, and represents OLLI at various fairs in the community.


Janet grew up in Galesburg, met her husband Steve at ISU, and came to Urbana with him as he settled into his job at Open Road Paving (then Champaign Asphalt).  With a degree in Social Work, she worked at Cunningham Children's Home, Central Baptist Family Services, Illinois Children's Home and Aid and DCFS, where she trained foster care providers and worked in the area of child abuse and neglect.


In the late 1990s she faced the "sandwich" difficulty of having a young child and older parents, who needed help.  She convinced her sister to move here from Washington, DC, and together they opened Milo's.  Janet worked at the restaurant until 2006, when she was enticed to come to OLLI by a frequent diner who had written the original Osher grant for the University. 


Working in community activities is a natural outgrowth of her experience.  While at Milo's, Janet provided a venue for charitable activities for such organizations as CASA, the Champaign County Humane Society, and the Prairie Center.  She serves on the board of the Urbana Rotary and has been active in schools.  Steve has served on the Urbana school board for 15 years.  Son Andrew is a senior at ISU, and Brian is at Urbana High.  Janet and Steve are currently hosting a Rotary Exchange Student from Chile.


Janet loves her OLLI work.  "It's so nice to see how many members step up to the plate when needed," she says.  "They have ownership in the organization, and it shows."  Janet also notes that OLLI has become a wonderful place for newcomers to the community to meet new people and become involved in meaningful social and learning experiences.


*  *  *  *


BrendaAs you learn about and sign up for lunchtime lectures, or register for a class, does it strike you that the process is remarkably easy?  OLLI members have Brenda Deaville (pronounced DeVille) to thank for all the informational and registration systems that work so smoothly.   


OLLI's office manager came to us after holding various secretarial positions at the University -- and has been with OLLI since it started. She was working in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning when a friend in the Chancellor's Office gave Kathleen her name.She was attracted to the position because it was a brand new organization; she could set up all the systems from scratch and develop all the necessary forms. She also loved the idea that the students with whom she would be interacting would have interesting life experiences and provide a stimulating environment.  "I always have enjoyed being with older adults," she says."When I was a kid, I sat at the adult table, not with the kids." 


One reason all the OLLI systems work so well is that Brenda is an expert at multi-tasking and a stickler for making sure things get done on time.  In addition to her full time job and family responsibilities, she managed to get a B.A. in 2008, and this May she will complete a Master of Science in Technology degree at EIU.  Her MS project is to create a database of OLLI lunchtime lectures, and she hopes eventually to do the same for the study groups.  The databases will assist Kathleen and Janet in reporting to the curriculum committee about how many lectures were given in a specific month or year and how many members attended the lectures of a specific speaker.


Brenda grew up on a farm and lived in Tuscola until moving to Urbana where her husband Tim lived.  They have two grown sons between them:  Chad and Brian. 


As you can imagine, Brenda does not have much spare time -- but she enjoys quilting when she does. 



OLLI in the Science Lab             

Tauby Shimkin is spending a lot of time lately with mice and clown fish, and she loves it.  Tauby is one of 14 OLLI students in the pioneering Citizen Scientist program, which places them in active research labs across campus.  They are there not as observers but as participants working with professors and students involved in current research.

A retired nurse, Tauby is part of a neuroscience project on Drugs, Exercise and Brain Health led by Assistant Professor Justin Rhodes. Rhodes is examining the phenomenon of neurogenesis -- how and when the brain generates new neurons throughout life. As part of her lab duties, Tauby has learned to handle lab mice humanely, for example, when administering injections. She is improving her microscope abilities so she can analyze slides of mouse brains.

 Tauby is intrigued with the lab's work on clown fish, a species with the unusual capacity to appear to change its gender as the need arises. In the absence of a dominant female, a male can become the female; the female is the more aggressive! Tauby has started by tagging the fish and hopes to become more involved as the study progresses.  She attends weekly meetings of faculty and students and is challenging herself to audit classes to become more informed about the field. 

U of I professors Gene Robinson, director of the Institute for Genomic Biology, and Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute, initiated the Citizen Scientist idea after each had taught OLLI classes. They worked with OLLI Director Kathleen Holden to make this unique program a reality. Coordinator Geena Skariah, a Ph.D. student, recruited faculty who were eager to include OLLI members in their research efforts, and she continues to track the participants in this intergenerational adventure.

OLLI participants chose from among proposals put together by ten faculty members and report they value interacting with the students as peers and as members of a particular lab. In return, graduate students get the chance to refine their ideas by explaining them to laymen. 

Participants in the program are not required to have scientific backgrounds. OLLI members receive the necessarytraining in equipment usage,methodology, andrelevant protocols. For example, Pat Porter, who is working on a project involving human subjects, received extensive training on the use of lasers and MRIs, as well as training in interview techniques and confidentiality requirements.

Mary Kuetemeyer, a former elementary school teacher, spends several hours per week in the lab of Associate Prof. Kiel Christianson. His experiments are aimed at disentangling the factors that affect how we understand written and spoken language. On a project that uses state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment, Mary does scoring and data entry to assess the reaction of subjects to materials such as advertisements.

Citzen Scientist in Lab
Jo Pride prepares nutrient broth in lab with graduate student Sharon Gray.
Jo Pride, working in Assistant Professor Andrew Leakey's genomics biology lab, was surprised at the scope of university research involvement. This lab is looking at the affect of accelerated carbon dioxide on field crops such as beans. Jo uses a scanner to measure the development of delicate root systems. While the work is repetitive, Jo hopes to continue with it even after the Citizen Scientist program concludes.

Citzen Scientist in Lab
Jim Caspary works with a test subject in the Beckman's Driver Simulator Lab
Jim Caspary's skills were acquired in banking, but now he is focusing on driver simulation tests in the Illinois Simulator Lab. Subjects there undergo two days of testing the impact of such factors as motion sickness, hearing, and multi-tasking on drivers' reactions. These tests are part of a larger inquiry led by Art Kramer and Mark Ceider aimed at understanding cognitive and brain plasticity across the adult life span. To this end, neuro-imaging techniques map the brain changes that accompany aging and gauge the impact of  cognitive and fitness interventions.

OLLI participants in the program are: Jim Caspary, Walter Feinberg, Mary Kuetemeyer, Glenn Mehling, Carol Miller, John Moore, Pat Porter, Jo Pride, Kitty Schleuter, Tauby Shimkin, Helen Thursh, and  Ashton Waller. These pioneers in intergenerational learning are part of a program that is unique to OLLI at Illinois. The pilot program expands opportunities for non-traditional studies, adding to existing choices of courses, study groups, lectures and travel opportunities.


A Bump in the OLLI Learning Road:  

A Testament to Our Members

by Kathleen Holden


Recently, a faculty member, who was scheduled to teach one of the "team taught" classes, did not arrive.  (There was some confusion about which faculty member was to teach either this week or next.)


When I announced to the class that we could not reach the faculty member, rather than whine or moan, in true OLLI fashion, one of the students put a website on the white board and talked about the interesting sustainability information that could be found there. We pulled up the site, and the class decided to use the time to look at one of the on-line lectures, while I tried to track down the instructor.  The extremely apologetic faculty member was found after about 20 minutes and offered to come if that was acceptable to the class. I checked with them, and while they were enjoying the website, they were ready to hear a live lecture. She arrived within 15 minutes, breathless but grateful for their patience, and proceeded to give her presentation.  Not one OLLI had member left.  What a wonderful testament to our members, their flexibility, and their willingness to experiment with new ways to learn when faced with a little bump in the learning road.



E-Reviews:  Your Favorite Movies (Part 2) 

PosterMary King - Hachiko: A dog's Tale (2009)

A true story that is an enjoyable tear jerker about a dog and his loyalty to his owner.  If you are a dog lover you will enjoy this one.


Carol Muster - Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Fighting writer's block, Will authors Romeo and Juliet by drawing from personal experiences as he lives out aspects of his play's plot. An utterly charming story line, passion, wit, fine acting performances, and touches like Will's souvenir Stratford-Upon-Avon mug make me want to see this movie over and over.


PosterPosterJack Paxton - Gattaca (1997); The Boys from Brazil (1978)

Both of these are modern versions of Brave New World.  Seemingly more possible than when they were filmed years ago, unless we remain vigilant!  Real world possibilities for the layman presenting complex ideas in the news in quite understandable terms.


PosterBrenda Berg - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)

The third movie of the Steig Larson trilogy. So many have read the book that I'm not sure additional information is necessary. 


PosterAshton Waller - Enchanted (2007)

Amy Adams plays a princess in waiting who sings, charms New Yorkers, and talks to animals.   Susan Sarandon plays an evil queen who has a dramatic fall.  James Marsden as a dim Prince Charming finds his true love. Perfect for visiting grandchildren and anyone who likes a good song.


PosterSandy Hannum - Strictly Ballroom (1992)

It is my favorite of all time! It is funny, has some great dancing in it, and a good message too. It is a variation on the Cinderella theme, so it has a happy ending. I also love the Australian accents.


PosterPat Thiessen - My First Mister (2001)

A 2001 movie of a 17-year-old Goth girl beginning a friendship with a pudgy old man.  This is a quirky film that points out the needs we all have regardless of how different we appear.


PosterMarlene Goodfriend - Picnic (1955)

Based on a play by William Inge, with Kim Novak, William Holden, and Rosalind Russell.  Handsome stranger shows up in small Kansas community, and there is love at first sight.  Memorable performances by the cast.


PosterMarlene Goodfriend - Cross Creek (1983)

The story of Marjorie Kinnen Rawlings and how she became a writer and came to write The Yearling while living in the swamps of Florida.


PosterMarlene Goodfriend - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

Based on a book by Betty Smith about a poor family during the Great Depression era.   Academy Award performances by Joan Blondell, Dorothy McGuire, Peggy Ann Gardner, and Lloyd Nolan.  It examines relationships -- mother-daughter, daughter-father, daughter-aunt. Touching, sad, and beautiful.


PosterMarlene Goodfriend - The Good Earth (1937)

Based on a story by Pearl S. Buck. Luise Rainer won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a simple, rags to riches Chinese peasant during the revolution.


OLLI Funnies  

Heartland Comics
OLLI Funnies are created by David Zell.