NRC OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute

National Resource Center

for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes Newsletter

December 2013
In This Issue
Greetings from Kali
OLLIs -- Toot Your Horns!
Save the Date! OLLI National Conference
Article Headline
"The Gifts of Aging"
The Crucial Role of Women in the Civil War
Photo Club Members Photograph Military People
Social Technology Conference
Foreign Cultures and American Foreign Policy
UNF OLLI Leader Co-Authors Book
Skype Session Enhances Understanding of Author's Work
Happy Holidays!...Just For fun
Join Our Mailing List!
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Greetings from Kali 

We are in full holiday mode here in Maine, complete with 9 inches of snow on the ground and 8 more on the way tonight.  As the snow falls outside I am enjoying a cup of tea while reading the articles in this month's newsletter, truly a potpourri of gifts and the gifted. 

May all of your celebrations and your new year be filled with laughter and learning. 

Best regards, Kali


OLLIs -- Toot Your Horns!
Toot your horn! Does your OLLI have news that you are proud of and would like to share with the network? The NRC newsletter is looking for articles about those
special happenings that you know will inspire and excite others. So, keep the network newsletter in mind as a place to "toot your horn!" 

If you have a story to share, please send it (with photos if possible) to Fran or Anne at the National Resource Center.

Save the Date! OLLI National Conference  
We are pleased to announce the dates and location for the 2014 OLLI National Conference. The gathering will be held at the Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad, CA from April 28-30, 2014. More information will follow on session proposal requests, programming, schedules, and many, many more details! Please do not hesitate to contact Fran Myers if you have any questions.


"The Gifts of Aging" at the University of Michigan 

Above: Gifts of Aging 


OLLI at the University of Michigan launched their program year this fall with a kick off event featuring the theme of "The Gifts of Aging." In preparation, last spring OLLI lecture attendees were asked to jot down on an index card what they considered to be the gifts of aging. OLLI staff compiled and analyzed the 200+ responses, which ranged from "perspective on history" to "I can sleep late" to "time to pursue interests I never had time for before" to "pregnancy is no longer a worry," and used these responses as part of the decorations at the kick off event. Wrapped gift boxes were adorned with large letter printouts of some of the "gifts of aging" identified by OLLI members, and an automated slide show depicted the themes that emerged from individuals' responses, along with choice quotes. Keynote speaker Dr. Laura Lein, Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, gave a moving and meaningful talk entitled "Personal Reflections on the Seasons of Our Lives," which received uniformly positive feedback. Last but not least, kick off attendees were invited to record on video their thoughts on the gifts of aging, and their responses were compiled into a video, viewable below. 

OLLI at UM Kick Off:  Reflections on  
Above: OLLI at UM Kick Off: Reflections on "The Gifts of Aging"


Following that great start, OLLI at the University of Michigan enjoyed record-setting attendance yet again at the first Thursday Themed Lecture Series of the year, entitled "Arab Nations: Tensions, Turmoil, Transitions." Over 440 OLLI members registered to attend the lecture series, which featured distinguished professors of history, international and comparative studies, sociology, religious studies, and art from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Here is a pdf copy of our lecture series brochure.
Submitted byAbbie Lawrence-Jacobson, OLLI at the University of Michigan

OLLI at Widener class:
'The Crucial Role of Women in the Civil War"
Above: OLLI Advisory Board member Lois Goodrich implores the women of the class to join her in the food riots of the time.

OLLI at Widener: This past semester, one of our history faculty members, Roger Price, offered a brand new course titled "The Crucial Role of Women in the Civil War". It took him almost two years to put together. Our members loved this course and several actually came to me asking me to please submit it for your newsletter! The course explored the vital roles that women played in both the North and South during the Civil War, which is often overlooked. Along with serving in the new profession of nursing, women also maintained the farms, kept the stores open, held families together, etc. During the war, many women also help serve as spies and led riots that played a big role in ending this tragic war. 

The great part about the course was that several class members dressed up in costumes from the time period, and acted out the roles during the class, this was a surprise each week to the class. The time period pieces were designed by one of our OLLI Advisory Board Members, Marie Stotler.


Submitted by
- Matt Weidman,
OLLI at Widener University

OLLI at George Mason: Photo Club Members Photograph Military People
On Saturday, Nov. 23, Lou Mazzatenta, Tom Simpson and John Nash, members of the OLLI-Mason Photo Club spent the day at the USO/Warrior Family Center at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, taking photographs of military people and families. There were 24 "photo shoots" that included families, individuals...and one dog. The USO staff downloaded the digital photographs, reviewed them with the participants and printed one professional-quality pose. The participants also left with a CD of all their pictures. According to the USO event coordinator, many of the participants had not had a portrait in several years because of a member's rehabilitation. 

It was a very happy group of people who had their pictures taken and a very gratifying project for the OLLI-Mason members. At OLLI-Mason, we have many volunteers helping out every day to make the institute stronger and better but often also make time to contribute outside of our organization. By representing OLLI at the USO and sharing their photography talents, Lou, Tom and John created a much needed moment of normalcy for our ill or injured heroes and their families. They gave them not only a wonderful professional quality image to cherish but also provided an opportunity for them all to relax, smile and feel a little better. 


Submitted by - Jennifer L. Disano, OLLI at George Mason University

OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University hold Social Technology Conference  
Download: pdf of the
November 22, 2013 Social Technology Conference Program Agenda
The OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University held its first Social Technology Conference. Ninety-two OLLI members and guests attended the day-long event which featured three keynote speakers and 24 breakout sessions.  The feedback was very positive and this will likely become an annual event. Topics included Facebook, how to buy tech gadgets, surveillance systems, Twitter, viruses, netiquette, wearable technologies for health, and much more.  Our keynote speakers included a Google representative, Michigan's Chief Security Officer and  the owner of a local  marketing company.  
Submitted by - Jo Brownlie, OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University

OLLI at the University of Virginia class: Foreign Cultures and American Foreign Policy 


Above: Commander Jim Perkins, USN, RET - Creator of the 'Foreign Cultures and American Foreign Policy '
The program had its inaugural presentations in the Spring 2012. 102 members registered for the program and local high school students were invited to attend compliments of OLLI UVA. This became the first intergenerational program ever held by OLLI UVA. It is also the highest registration enrollment for a course at OLLI UVA with 110 registrants and 6 high school students attending the Spring 2013 session.

James O. Perkins, Commander, U.S. Navy, Retired, created this six week program at OLLI UVA. Jim's experience was that education in foreign cultures was certainly needed to inform the public. And working as a volunteer with OLLI, he thought that this was a natural place to start.

The program consists of presentations by a distinguished group of mostly current UVA faculty with each discussing a different country's culture as a foundation for the formulation of strategic American foreign policy. Each was a recognized scholar and author in the culture and politics of his or her respective country of focus. 

Above: Professor Farzaneh Milani

Chair, Department of Middle Eastern & South Asia Languages & Culture

You can watch these fascinating and historical talks on iTunes U. If you need help accessing OLLI Foreign Cultures & American Foreign Policy 2012 & 2013 videos please email Jim Perkins.
For more information about this course please download the following pdf file: OLLI at UVA Foreign Cultures and American Policy.pdf


 Submitted by -  Joan Kammire, OLLI at at the University of Virginia  

UNF OLLI Leader Co-Authors Book About Adult Learning 

Sharan B. Merriam
Sharan B. Merriam, Professor Emeritus of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Georgia and UNF OLLI Curriculum Team Member, has published "Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice." Co-authored by Laura L Bierema, the book has been hailed as a concise, practice oriented text that is solidly grounded in theory and research. The book's publication led U.S. News and World Report to cite Merriam's expert perspective in "How to Be a Better Learner" in Nov. 2013. Merriam's comments promote the importance of learning as a community activity and cites OLLIs as venues that encourage adult learners to link life experiences to the subjects they explore.
Submitted by - Jeanette Toohey,

OLLI at The University of Delaware: Skype Session Enhances Understanding of Author's Works


Members of OLLI at The University of Delaware in Lewes, Delaware studied the works of William Clark Styron (1925-2006) in their American Authors course led by instructors Gary and Margo Ramage during the fall semester.Styron's daughter, Alexandra, is a fine writer in her own right and wrote a lovely memoir - "Reading My Father". Gary and Margo suggested reading this in the first gathering with the class as it would serve as a good introduction to her father and his writings. 
Above: Alexandra Styron talks to OLLI members via Skype
Alexandra lives in New York City so Gary and Margo met with her to arrange a Skype session. Margo reports, "We kept it as a surprise for the class. (Very difficult for me to keep this secret!) She was very gracious with her time and we all enjoyed the session."

Submitted by - Lynn Kroesen, OLLI at University of Delaware in Lewes

Jottings heading

Midwest Lifelong Learning Conference


We have received word that the Annual Midwest Lifelong Learning Conference is to be held at the Westin O'Hare, Rosemont, IL on April 16-18th, 2014.

This conference is not offered by the OLLI network, but it is a great opportunity for those who cannot attend the national OLLI conference. This year's theme is Engagement: the challenges of engaging learners, communities, volunteers and instructors as concepts of leisure time and retirement continue to evolve. 

Here is Contact information if you are interested in presenting a breakout topic from your research or experience:
Eastern Illinois University
School of Continuing Education
Marita Metzke, Conference Chair

phone: 217-581-5114
Submitted by - Kali Lightfoot, OLLI National Resource Center

Happy Holidays!



Just For fun... And in perfect time for the holidays we have one more 'Gift of Aging' to share with you all. Thanks to the members of OLLI at the University of Michigan!
Image information: 
  • blakeWilliam Blake: Songs of Innocence (Yale Center for British Art )  Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
  • Photo of Sharan B. Merriam appears courtesy of Sharan B. Merriam