Electronic Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- November 2012
In This Issue
Message from OLLI Director Chris Catanzarite
Thanks to Class Hosts
Congratulations to Brenda
Member Profile
Study Groups at OLLI-Illinois
The Buzz...News from the classroom
E-Reviews: Local Restaurants
Web Watch
Make Yourself at Home
OLLI Travel: Land of Enchantment
OLLI Alaska Trip Video
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Quick LInks 

OLLI Illinois Home Page


OLLI at Illinois Video on Youtube (produced by member Don Francisco)


e-News Features Committee: Cheri Sullivan (Chair), Frank Chadwick, Bonnie Hudson, Andrea Lynn, Barbara Meyer (Technical Coordinator). Please send your ideas, photos and stories for consideration to
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Nov 30 - Spring 2013 course schedule goes online

Dec 12 - Spring 2013 course registration begins, 9:00 a.m.
Jan 28 - Spring 2013 courses begin


Half-year memberships are available now! The cost is $90; a second member of the same household may join for $70. To join OLLI click here.


Give the gift of learning - an OLLI membership makes a wonderful gift! Gift certificates are available in the office.   


Lit Loop - Many thanks to all the OLLI members who let us know what is on their nightstand. We received so many responses that we've decided to do a special edition of the E-News dedicated exclusively to the Lit Loop. Look for it soon in your in box.  


A Message from OLLI Director Chris Catanzarite
Our Fall Reception on November 1 provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate OLLI - and, most of all, to welcome our two very special guests, Provost Ilesanmi Adesida and Chancellor Phyllis Wise. It is always a delight to share OLLI with new people, and that delight is magnified when I get to share it with our distinguished campus leaders, who are committed to advancing the values of "labor and learning" that are at the heart of the University of Illinois.
Many of you were surprised to learn some of the statistics about OLLI that I mentioned at the reception, so I would like to take this opportunity to recap some of those important facts and figures here:  
  • OLLI at Illinois was launched in the fall semester 2007 with 297 members and 11 courses; we now have approximately 1,000 members, and in the fall semester 2012 we had 29 courses.  
  • Our youngest member is 50, and our oldest is 96.
  •  In a typical semester, we have had 70% of our members registered for at least one course - but, in fall 2012, more than 95% of our members took at least one course, with the majority registering for two or three courses.  
  • We are about to embark on a new study group session with 18 very diverse groups; that is more than we have ever offered in the fall session, and the robust enrollment shows that study groups are becoming ever-more popular - last year, a record-high 22% of our members participated in at least one study group, but the number for this fall's session is more than 30%.

Those are very impressive numbers. But my academic background is in the humanities, and as any humanist will tell you, the numbers tell only part of the story. The story of OLLI at Illinois (like all good stories) has interesting characters, unexpected plot twists, and a happy ending.


Prevailing studies tell us that remaining active and intellectually engaged is beneficial to overall wellness - and I see that animated at OLLI every day, in a hundred different anecdotal ways.  


There are no exams and no grades, attendance is not taken. . .and yet (here is one of those plot twists I mentioned) students show up each day, get out their notebooks or iPads, and take notes. Because learning is important and fun, and knowing something interesting is its own reward. In many ways, OLLI is a laboratory for the potentials of education across a lifespan.


The fall and spring courses are the centerpieces of OLLI's programming, and study groups are rapidly becoming the heart of our community of learners. Our other programs - lunchtime lectures, travel opportunities, the Citizen Scientist Program, our collaborations with the renowned University Library - provide many opportunities for our members to engage with each other, with the Illinois campus, and with the communities in and around Champaign-Urbana on projects that are mutually beneficial and intellectually enriching.


And, oh yes, I know that I promised a happy ending. Later this month, we will be unveiling our course schedule for the spring semester - and we have 35 course offerings (including some 4-week courses that will enable concentrated examinations of exciting subjects and greater flexibility for our members who travel in the winter months).  


That is the greatest number of courses that we have ever offered, and the schedule is comprised of a combination of favorite instructors and topics from the past and exciting new subjects and teachers. That sounds to me like a happy ending - and a pretty great place to start.


Best Wishes, Chris 


Thank you to our fall semester Class Hosts! 
The following OLLI members volunteered their time and energy to introduce our instructors, welcome our students, and save us from the scourge of ringing cell phones. We are pleased to recognize and thank them for their service:

Class Hosts
Brenda holding certificate
Congratulations to Brenda!

Office Manager Brenda Deaville is recognized for 10 years of service to the University of Illinois and its mission in higher education.  
Brenda has spent six of those years at OLLI, and continues to make important contributions to all of our programs and the experiences of our members.
Member Profile: Tim Smith

Tim Smith You've probably heard there is an OLLI member who took eleven courses during the fall semester, which so far is a record. Tim Smith is our industrious student and we caught up with him between classes. Tim joined OLLI in January of 2011 after retiring from the law. His sister, who is a member of the George Mason OLLI in northern Virginia, recommended the program to him and he's been an active member ever since.  


Which courses caught his attention this term? Physics for Presidents, 2012 Elections, Dissecting Digital Media, McCarthy and Film, Santa Fe Trail, Tales from the Crypt, Madness and Literature, Presidential Campaign Ads, Humor and Creativity, Sun and the Stars, and Great Detectives.


Tim is an OLLI Board member and the diversity of courses he's interested in also helps explain his commitment to OLLI. In his words:


"For years I would think back on my college undergraduate experience and wish I had taken more courses in areas that were not related to my required studies. OLLI gives me that opportunity to do so. And each semester I try to take a course or a study group that is on the edge of my learning experiences. The challenge of learning something outside of my normal interest permits new learning yearnings to develop that I can explore now rather than later since I have the time to do so.


"And OLLI, particularly the study groups, lets me meet and enjoy people from disciplines I never encountered in the practice of law. As one might predict, it's wonderful not having to deal with lawyers!"


Speaking of study groups, Tim is co-facilitating with Bev Herzog the "Best American Mystery Stories of the Century" study group currently underway.


By Frank Chadwick


Study Groups at OLLI at Illinois


I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. - Douglas Adams, humorist and novelist


For many of us OLLI is both where we intend to go and where we need to be. We are drawn because we are all lifelong learners, and also because OLLI makes it easy, offering a rainbow of options: myriad topics of study, different group sizes and meeting times and even various formats within which we can learn and interact with peers and experts. All of this flexibility undoubtedly contributes to our appreciation of the OLLI experience.


OLLI study groups and courses offer different ways to learn and interact with other OLLI members. Since we often field questions about study groups, we asked Janet Summers, the OLLI Outreach Coordinator and organizer of the study group program, for the details. We are happy to share those questions - and answers - with you here.


"May I participate in a study group if I do not sign up for a course?"

Absolutely! Study groups and courses run independently of each other. Some OLLI members prefer study groups because they provide an opportunity for members to meet and interact with each other in a more intimate discussion group setting.


"What is the difference between study groups and courses?"

OLLI courses are offered in two eight-week blocks during the spring and fall and are usually lecture style, led by an expert on a subject. OLLI study groups are led by volunteer members, known as facilitators. Study groups have fewer members than courses and are designed to appeal to those who enjoy active participation. Study groups meet for between 4 and 8 weeks, at times during the year when courses do not meet. Study groups are offered in fall, spring, early summer, and late summer sessions.


"Who facilitates the study groups?"

Any OLLI member can facilitate a study group - including YOU! A study group facilitator does not need to be an expert on the topic. The facilitator's primary function is to organize the group and facilitate the discussion. The facilitator can lead all sessions or can ask for volunteer leaders among group members to lead some of the discussions.


"If I have an idea for a study group, but I'm not sure I want to facilitate a group, what should I do? Help me understand the process of starting a study group."

Janet is responsible for coordinating study groups. If you would like to discuss an idea for a study group, please contact her at the OLLI office or via email .  


There is a study group proposal form on the OLLI website at


The OLLI Study Group Committee reviews the proposal and Janet contacts the facilitator to schedule the group. Support and training is provided by the Study Group Committee and OLLI staff. OLLI members receive emails notifying them of study group proposal and sign up timelines. OLLI members will also receive emails inviting them to informational sessions to discuss ideas for future study groups.


"What is the cost to enroll in a study group?"

Your first study group of the year is free; after that, they are only $15 each. . .a real deal!


Check out the OLLI website to review some of the topics that have been offered in the past; you might get an idea - or half a dozen of them!


By Bonnie Hudson


The Buzz 
News from the classroom

2012 Elections

This team-taught course has seen some terrific lectures by authors and scholars, but for many of the class the highlight was the talk by former Illinois governor Jim Edgar.  His honest answers to difficult questions, as well as his unfailing civility, common sense and good humor, were appreciated by folks on both sides of the political divide.


LIfe Magazine cover Tales from the Crypt

Zombies, vampire movies, ghost stories, cannibalism, local cemeteries, tomb kissing, and the multiple reburials of Abraham Lincoln's body were among the many topics that mesmerized anthropology Professor Helaine Silverman's OLLI class. It was the perfect course to be in on Halloween.

Madness and Literature

This course, taught by Dr. Nancy Blake, has covered a variety of well-known and obscure treatments of madness in both print literature and film, but it wrapped up with rock lyrics submitted by class members. We're getting some remarkable lyrics from artists as diverse as Queen, Warren Zevon, The Talking Heads, Kurt Cobain, and Tom Waits.


Biotravelogue: Exploring the Earth's Biodiversity

When Mike Jeffords and Sue Post shared the beautiful photos and journals from their travels to the "most charismatic landscapes on earth," they devoted one lecture to Alaska, which thrilled the OLLI members in the group they led on the Alaska cruise last year. Perhaps the most charismatic creatures of all, though, were the rare and elusive jaguars they spotted on the banks of the Cuiaba River in Mato Grosso, Brazil. 


Presidential Campaign Advertising

Craig Cutbirth, the course instructor, celebrated his 64th birthday on October 25th by showing up and teaching. With typical OLLI spirit, the class sang Happy Birthday.



Genealogy of the Quilt
When you go to a quilt show you can't touch the quilts, but quilt artist Deborah Fell encouraged her class to handle her quilts. Soon OLLI members were bringing in their own handwork and sharing family heirlooms.



Reviews and recommendations from the perspective of OLLI's greatest resource, you.

Judging from the huge variety of responses we got when we asked fellow OLLI members to share the names of their favorite local restaurants, there are lots of good places to eat in town. The list below will give you some ideas for recommended restaurants and menu items before your next meal out.


Milo's - 2870 S. Philo Road, Urbana. Recommended by: Beth Felts, Sandy Volk, Marilyn Nichols, Bob Jones, Pat Jordan, Bob Spitze, Louise Allen, Cleo D'Arcy, Carol Kubitz, Brenda Lerner Berg, Carl Jockusch. Favorite menu items: Jane's chicken salad, salmon cake with salad greens, duck with sides of roast pear and spinach, pineapple chicken salad, upside down pizzas, baked crusted tilapia, butternut squash ravioli, fish specials, muffins, salmon fillet in phyllo with duxelles


Timpone's - 710 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana. Recommended by: Jean Peters, Morton Brussel, Andrea Beller, Diane Gottheil, Robert McGrath, Joy Thornton-Walter, Gene Amberg. Favorite menu items: warm goat cheese and arugula salad; fig, goat cheese, and arugula pizza; their pizza and pasta in general; ever-changing menu; duck; thin-crust pizzas


Biaggi's - 2235 S. Neil St., Champaign. Recommended by: Don Pilcher, Delora Siebrecht, Pat Jordan, Jo Pride, Elaine Lutz. Favorite menu items: soup/salad luncheon special with free refills, mussels, chicken pietro, pasta with white clam sauce, beet salad, grilled shrimp with pesto pasta, eggplant parmesan


Bacaro - 113 N. Walnut St., Champaign. Recommended by: Nancy Johnson, P. Yo, Diane & David Zell, Elly Ray. Favorite menu items: fresh, local food, always changing; everything on the menu


Escobar's - 6 E. Columbia Ave., Champaign. Recommended by: Andrea Lyn, Beth Felts, Linda Coleman, Sam Reese, Christine Cox. Favorite menu items: fish dishes, fish tacos, paella  


Houlihan's - 1902 S. First St., Champaign. Recommended by: Anne Reeser, Mike Schlueter, Pat Jordan, Priscilla Christians. Favorite menu items: their small plates are great food in small quantities, Italian style donut flight, flat bread pizza, spinach salad, eating in the outdoor patio


Courier Café - 111 N. Race St., Urbana. Recommended by: Fred Christensen, Michael Martin, Mary Carroll King, Margaret Hoffman. Favorite menu items: Bankers' Burger with cheese and mushrooms, Courier Burger cooked to medium with French fries and vanilla milkshake, cod sandwich on Fridays, the salad bar


Kofusion - 1 Main St. #104, Champaign. Recommended by: Theresa Michelson, George & Mary Perlstein, Kitty Schlueter. Favorite menu items: fish special of the day, sushi, organic strip steak


Silver Creek - 402 N. Race St., Urbana. Recommended by: Annette Lansford, Beth Felts, Jack Paxton. Favorite menu items: Boneyard trout


Radio Maria - 119 N. Walnut St., Champaign. Recommended by: Barak Rosenshine, James Gentry. Favorite menu items: tapas


Rainbow Garden - 1402 S. Neil St. #3, Champaign. Recommended by: Merle Levy, Jim Wentz. Favorite menu items: Mongolia beef


Red Lobster - 1901 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign. Recommended by: Carol Perhach, Samuel Bostaph. Favorite menu items: Wally's shrimp


My Thai - 2312 W. Springfield Ave., Champaign

Recommended by: Pam Olson, Christine Cox

Favorite menu items: dragon shrimp, tom kah gai soup, sticky rice with mango dessert; pangang curry


Great Impasta - 156 Lincoln Square, Urbana. Recommended by: Beth Felts, Pat Jordan. Favorite menu items: Papa Piero's chicken


Sun Singer - 1115 W. Windsor Rd., Champaign. Recommended by: Judy Reynolds, Carol Kubitz. Favorite menu items: smoked salmon sandwich with soup of the day, lunch in general


Bread Company - 706 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana. Recommended by: William Curry. Favorite menu items: lamb chops, everything on the menu


Huaraches Moroleon - 805 Philo Rd., Urbana. Recommended by: Theresa Michelson. Favorite menu items: chilaquiles for breakfast


Subway - University and Busey, Urbana. Recommended by: Michael Fuerst. Favorite menu items: none specified


Seven Saints - 32 E. Chester St. Champaign. Recommended by: Pat Porter Favorite menu items: hummus appetizer


Farren's Pub & Eatery - 308 N. Randolph St., Champaign. Recommended by: Traci Nalley

Favorite menu items: burgers and fresh fried potato chips, beer selection


Manzella's Italian Patio - 115 S. First St., Champaign. Recommended by: Isabel Cole. Favorite menu items: chicken Pietro with house salad


Golden Harbor - 505 S. Neil St., Champaign. Recommended by: Denise Taylor. Favorite menu items: crispy smoked tofu with mushrooms and greens


Steak 'N Shake - 2009 N. Kenyon Rd., Urbana. Recommended by: Marilyn Hill. Favorite menu items: grilled chicken salad


Mas Amigos - 40 E. Springfield Ave., Champaign. Recommended by: George Brock. Favorite menu items: tamales


Destihl - 301 N. Neil St., Champaign. Recommended by: Beth Felts. Favorite menu items: none specified


Oishi Asian Cuisine - 2501 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign. Recommended by: Carol Perhach; Favorite menu items: everything on the menu


Siam Terrace - 212 W. Main St., Urbana. Recommended by: Pam Olson. Favorite menu items: lava trio, Bangkok duck


Urbana Garden - 810 W. Killarney St., Urbana. Recommended by: Phyllis Gingold, Barbara Meyer. Favorite menu items: fried chicken, liver and onions. 


Kamakura - 715 S. Neil St., Champaign. Recommended by: David Sharpe. Favorite menu items: sushi and beer


Thara Thai - 912 W. Bloomington Rd., Champaign. Recommended by: Martha Eller. Favorite menu items: ginger chicken


Café Luna - 116 N. Chestnut St., Champaign. Recommended by: Irene Metzger. Favorite menu items: none specified


Web Watch  
Websites for OLLI-ites  

Don't you hate it when you hear about something you would like to have done, but you didn't find out about it in time? Keep up with what's happening by checking these online listings of local events.


OLLI Calendar 

Events at OLLI, Krannert, and occasionally other venues around town are listed on this easy-to-use calendar. You can also submit events to be included on the calendar.


Library Calendars

There's a lot happening for people of all ages at the Champaign Public Library and the Urbana Free Library.  Find a variety of fun and educational events for yourself as well as for visiting grandchildren.


Parkland College News and Events

From a Disney Pops concert to indie artists in a Jam Against Arthritis, there's a lot happening at Parkland. See if there's anything you don't want to miss!


University of Illinois Events Calendar

This easily searchable calendar includes everything from Illini athletic events to public lectures to campus craft fairs. Scan the calendar and click on events that interest you to get more information, or search for something and see when it's happening.

Make Yourself at Home

This multi-part feature answers member questions about the facilities and membership features of OLLI. There really is a lot to take advantage of!


Name Cards

Name cards help the instructors to learn our names - and, since they're printed on both sides, they help us to learn each other's names, too! You will find your OLLI name card in the plastic bins in the main office and a duplicate one in the boxes outside the Fox classroom. There are letter dividers to help keep them in alphabetical order, although they sometimes get a bit mixed up! Some members mark the top of their name card with colorful markers or with unique drawings or dashes so they'll be easier to spot. Others just rummage around until they find theirs. The best way to guarantee that your card is always at the ready is to put it in your OLLI folder and keep it with you - so we'll always know who you are!


First Aid: More Than Just Frozen Peas

I mentioned last time that the frozen peas in the office refrigerator are for first aid in the event of a bruise or sprain. For other minor mishaps, please see a member of the staff; there is a first aid kit in the office for those who need bandages or other fix-its. In the event of a more serious incident, have someone call 911, and then notify the staff immediately.

The Break Room

There is a large break room with a common area and kitchen adjoining the Fox classroom (behind the wall with the lectern and movie screen). There are two entrances from the hallway and one directly from the Fox classroom via the door near the exterior wall. The common area has tables and chairs for the use of everyone working and studying in the building, including OLLI members. The kitchen has toaster ovens, twin sinks, and microwave ovens - perfect for microwave popcorn to make your movie class more authentic! Vending machines with sodas and snacks can be found at the far end of the break room.


In good weather there are outdoor tables and chairs that you can get to through a door in the common area. However, you cannot open these doors from the outside, so either make sure there are people inside to open the door or walk around the building and use the main entrance on the west side.


By Frank Chadwick
New Mexico Banner

There's still room for you in the "Land of Enchantment"


In her memoirs, written many decades after she travelled the Santa Fe Trail as a young girl, Marian Russell called her destination a "Land of Enchantment." Our tour will provide an introduction to New Mexico's Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo cultural heritage, and to its spectacular landscapes, historic towns and cities, prehistoric archaeological sites, arts and crafts, and cuisines. We will return with a new understanding of the "enchanting" American Southwest!


Led by Fred Christensen, and organized by Tour Group Planners, our tour will include: Albuquerque sights and Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, Sandia Peak tramway and restaurant, Acoma Pueblo, El Morro National Monument, Turquoise Trail, Santa Fe sights and museums, Fort Union National Monument, Pecos Pueblo, Glorieta Pass, High Road to Taos and Taos Pueblo, with an optional all-day trip to Chaco Canyon.


The dates and costs are May 15-23, 2013 at $2882 per person (double occupancy) which includes round-trip motor coach transportation to St. Louis Airport and round-trip flight; hotel accommodations for 8 nights; tour manager, transportation, sightseeing, and admissions; 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners; taxes, fees, and surcharges


 Download more detailed information here and you can register in one of three ways:
  1. By telephone: Tour Coordinator is Judy McElfresh ( ); call toll free 877-386-4777 or 217 422-5002 to charge your credit card for the $900 per person deposit (including insurance).
  2. By check: Mail check (made out to Franklin Travel) to Tour Group Planners, 363 S.Main St. Ste. 175, Decatur IL 62523
  3. Register online anytime with Tour Group Planners.
OLLI Alaska Trip Video          

Aboard ship Put together boats, planes, kayaks, trains, mountains, forests, ocean, rivers, wild animals, spectacular vistas plus some adventurous OLLI members and what do you have? The 2011 OLLI Alaska trip!  


Don Francisco, a retired videographer, combined some of his own footage of the trip with video taken by Fred Christensen, Susan Haney, Sarah Wisseman, Margaret Olson, and Mike Schlueter to make a video so that everyone could relive highlights of this incredible excursion to Alaska.  


Many other trip members contributed still photos that Don also incorporated into the video. Don has graciously made the video available to all OLLI members by putting it on YouTube.  

Click here to experience the OLLI Alaska trip for yourself.


Coming soon: photos and video of our 2012 Istanbul and Venice trip!

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