Electronic Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- February 2012
In This Issue
OLLI Receives $1 Million Osher Endowment
OLLI Travel
OLLI Collaboration with China Executive Leadership Program
Second Annual Oscar Contest Underway!
Community & Campus Day of Service
The Buzz...News from the classroom
E-Reviews: Favorite Movie of 2012
Web Watch: Wildlife Webcams

Quick Links 

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

Deadline for Study Group Proposals for Spring Session: February 25. Please contact Janet Summers at for more details.


Upcoming Lunchtime Lectures 
Free for members and a guest; registration required.

A Message from OLLI Director Chris Catanzarite

Dear Friends,
reception 2012 was a year filled with exciting discoveries and surprising moments, and the most delightful moment of all was the announcement that The Bernard Osher Foundation had awarded a second $1 million endowment to OLLI at Illinois. This award recognizes the spirit of curiosity and exploration at the heart of our ever-growing institute. It was a true pleasure to watch the joyous reaction when U of I Chancellor Phyllis Wise shared the special news of the endowment at our December reception - a moment of silence, followed by unrestrained cheering. If you weren't there to witness it firsthand (or if you would like to experience that special moment again), you can find the video of Chancellor Wise's announcement below
reception There was much joy to go around on that day, and many thanks to share, as well. It is my sincere pleasure to thank The Bernard Osher Foundation for their generous support and encouragement for all that we do. This endowment is an honor, and a responsibility - to continue our existing programs and expand in exciting new directions in the year ahead.
To Chancellor Wise, Provost Ilesanmi Adesida, and their colleagues, we benefit each day from the rich support our campus provides. We are proud to be OLLI at Illinois.
To our partners on the campus and in the community - from the University Library and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to the Beckman Institute and the Institute for Genomic Biology, from the Illinois Promise Program to our counterparts in adult education in Champaign-Urbana - thank you.
  reception To our members, who give so generously of their time and talents and resources - who keep our hallways echoing with lively conversation, camp outside the office on the first day of registration, and are disappointed when we are closed for a holiday - thank you seems too small a phrase for you.
 To Kathleen Holden, who so carefully established the bedrock of this wonderful program, and Janet Summers and Brenda Deaville, who work expertly and tirelessly on behalf of our members and our mission - you have my unending gratitude.
All of you had a hand in making that special and celebratory moment possible. And, in turn, that moment will now make possible even more opportunities. . .for engagement, for excitement, for enrichment.
Thank you.

OLLI Receives $1 Million Osher Endowment

Phyllis Wise
Chancellor Phyllis Wise announces OLLI $1 million endowment at a reception at the I Hotel on December 18, 2012



The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded $1 million to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to endow and support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the U of I. This is the second $1 million endowment the foundation has given to OLLI, a member-driven program dedicated to the pursuit of lifelong learning.


In announcing the gift, Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman pointed out that the U of I Institute has experienced exceptional growth since its inception in 2007. "We recognize that the Institute's success represents the collective achievements of its excellent staff and dynamic community of intellectually vigorous members who give generously of their time, talent, and financial resources," Bitterman said. "We applaud the university's leadership for its steadfast support of the program and for embracing the notion that - at its best - education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to elevate, delight and forge connections to each other and to a larger world."


OLLI director Christine Catanzarite said, "I am extraordinarily grateful to The Bernard Osher Foundation for this generous support of OLLI at Illinois - and for promoting a vision of curiosity and discovery as a lifelong project. Our members are actively engaged in shaping the contours of our Institute, and our campus and community partners share in the intellectual and social benefits of our programs. This endowment from the Osher Foundation will resonate deeply with everyone affiliated with OLLI at Illinois as we continue to grow."


Video icon
Click to watch a video of Chancellor Phyllis Wise and OLLI Director Christine Catanzarite at the endowment announcement reception on December 18, 2012.
videoOLLI at Illinois began in the fall of 2007 with 11 courses and 297 members. It now has more than 1,000 members and will offer 36 courses in the spring of 2013. In addition to classes, OLLI offers programs and activities that include lectures, study groups, travel opportunities and collaborations with the campus and community.

The collaborations include special programs developed for OLLI members by the U of I Library's renowned Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the innovative Citizen Scientist Program, in which OLLI members serve as research volunteers in laboratories at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Institute for Genomic Biology.


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois is part of a network of 115 non-credit, personal enrichment educational programs for mature adults supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation located at colleges and universities across the United States. Nearly 113,000 people currently participate in OLLI programs.


Dispatches from the OLLI Office

Chicago Jazz Festival Header Chicago Jazz Festival Tour - August 29 to September 1, 2013

Join Sam Reese for an immersion in Chicago jazz this Labor Day Weekend during the 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, held outdoors in beautiful Millennium and Grant Parks along the lakefront. Sam will be your guide to enjoying a diverse range of jazz musicians during three evenings of Festival performances, and will begin each day with a multimedia presentation about the music and musicians you will be hearing later that evening.


The trip also includes round-trip travel from OLLI to Chicago; three nights' lodging at the Club Quarters Hotel in the Central Loop; two group dinners and a daily continental breakfast. Cost per person is $619 (double occupancy).



Additional information about this trip and the Chicago Jazz Festival can be found here.


New Mexico Post Card

Land of Enchantment: New Mexico - May 15-23, 2013  


Spaces are still available for the Land of Enchantment: New Mexico trip  

led by Fred Christensen, which is scheduled for May 15-23, 2013.  




Chinese icon OLLI Collaboration with China Executive Leadership Program

OLLI is pleased to launch a new partnership with the  China Executive Leadership Program, a division of the U of I's International Programs and Studies Department - and to let OLLI members know about this opportunity for informal interactions with participants in the program:

  • Conversation Partners needed! We have a tremendous opportunity to connect with international guests who are here as part of the China Executive Leadership Program.  
  • The need is for native English speakers who would be able to meet informally at least twice per month for conversation, coffee, meals, or attending sporting or arts events.
  • The group consists of 18 Chinese bank executives (men and women) who are at the U of I until October. They have good proficiency in English and are interested in learning about our culture, forming new friendships, and practicing/improving their English skills.
  • If you are interested, please contact Luanne Schroeder at or 333-9650.

oscars Second Annual Oscar Contest Underway!

Ballots are available now in the OLLI office for the contest. Fill in your ballot to indicate the one person/film you think will win in each category. (Only one vote per category, and you must vote in all categories for your entry to be eligible. Only one entry per person!)


Completed ballots are due in the office by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.


The Oscars will be awarded live on Sunday, February 24. After the awards have been announced, the OLLI ballots will be tabulated, and prizes will be given to those with the most correct picks. (Disclaimer: The prizes themselves are not especially grand, but it is always more fun to watch the Oscars if you have a rooting interest in the competition!)


The winners will be announced, and prizes awarded, on Thursday, February 28 as part of a Lunchtime Lecture on the history and significance of the Academy Awards. If you win a prize and are not at the lunchtime event, you will be contacted by e-mail to make arrangements to collect your prize.


Day of Service icon Mark Your Calendar: Community & Campus Day of Service

Members of the local community and University of Illinois faculty, staff, and students will join forces to kick off National Volunteer Week 2013, which takes place from April 21 - 27. One project that is already being planned involves packaging 146,000 meals - one thousand for every year of public engagement since the University was chartered - for local foodbanks to distribute to needy families in Champaign-Urbana. The University's National Soybean Research Laboratory created the recipe in-house, so it's an "Illinois" meal. Click here for some of their high protein soy based recipes.


OLLI members will have an opportunity to participate in this event on Saturday, April 20, 2013, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. The tentative location for the project is the second floor of Ikenberry Commons on campus. More information on this event with details on how to register will be available closer to the date of the event.


OLLI at Illinois on Facebook  

OLLI on Facebook Nearly two hundred OLLI at Illinois members know an easy way to stay on top of what's happening. When they sign into Facebook, they see photos from OLLI classes, learn about lectures, see opportunities for involvement in university and community research, discover links to interesting websites, discuss classes, and find out about local events. All this happens because they "like" the OLLI Illinois page on Facebook.


Anyone on Facebook can take a look at our page by typing "OLLI Illinois" into the search box. But if you want to see OLLI photos and information scrolling through your newsfeed, be sure to click the thumbs-up Like button on our OLLI page. There's a button you can click at the end of this article, too.


More and more OLLI members are on Facebook, and as the numbers increase, there's more fun to be had on our Facebook page. If you are not on Facebook but are curious about it, sign up is simple. Just go to Facebook and follow the instructions. There is a new privacy button on the top bar of Facebook that will let you control who sees you on Facebook. 

Like Us on Facebook 


The Buzz 
News from the classroom


Introduction to Ancient Persia and Modern Iran

This study group, facilitated by David Zell, had a number of guest lecturers from the U of I community, including Wayne Pitard, curator and museum director of the Spurlock Museum here on campus. The feature exhibit of the museum, on ancient Mesopotamia  (The Land Between the Two Rivers), was rededicated on February 10, when some remarkable  new digital images of ancient Persian artifacts will be added to the exhibit. The study group was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at some of these amazing new pictures.


Best American Mystery Stories of the Century

This study group, facilitated by Bev Herzog and Tim Smith, finished up the term with a potluck lunch for the participants. We invited the office staff to join us as an impromptu thanks for all their hard work. Everyone is looking forward to the next study group session when we'll read and discuss the second half of this terrific mystery anthology.


Writers' Café

The second term of the Writers' Café, facilitated by Frank Chadwick, just wrapped up and has begun meeting (for anyone interested in attending) at the Champaign Public Library. The Café started as an OLLI study group and still meets as such during the regular study group periods, but also meets off-campus when OLLI semester courses are in session. One of the great things about OLLI is the sense of community, which means courses and study groups often spin off into meetings and activities outside the formal venue.


Films of the Coen Brothers

Veteran study group facilitator Dick Helfrich headed up this group, which just wrapped up its run with a screening of The Big Lebowski, along with a fun exhibit of various Big Lebowski and "Dude-ism" paraphernalia. Dick programmed the first six films for the group but the class voted on the last two films. Great films and great discussions!


Sun and Stars

Jim Kaler  who taught the Sun and Stars course in the fall, created a website that summarizes all eight sessions of his popular course, which has been offered more than once over the past few years. He thought OLLI members - whether or not they took his class - might enjoy seeing it here.  


Eudora Welty

So captivating has Eudora Welty proven herself to be, that the participants of the inaugural Eudora Welty study group, just ended, have voted to continue their explorations of the fiction writer's works in a second study group later this spring, when co-facilitators Linda Coleman and John Bennett will once again take the helm. Newcomers are welcome! The group read a dozen Welty short stories, including the 60-page whopper, "June Recital."


TED Talks

Members of the TED Talks study group were once again treated to a presentation by the fun and inspiring poet John Rives. OLLI members who were in previous sessions of TED Talks may remember hearing Rives expose the secrets of 4 a.m. This session, facilitators Denise Taylor and Cheri Sullivan shared what the internet would be like if Rives were in control.



E-Reviews: Favorite Movie of 2012  

Reviews and recommendations from the perspective of OLLI's greatest resource - you! The question this time was "Motion picture award season is beginning! What was your favorite movie of 2012?"  



  • Mary Ellen Dorner - No doubt about it! And my so-far favorite OLLI class, thanks to Guy Fraker, enhanced my appreciation of the movie.
  • Pat Chapel - Nothing like it!
  • Mary Mortland - I really enjoyed the acting script.
  • Marilyn Hill - My favorite movie, probably the only one I saw. Am sorry it didn't glean more Golden Globe awards.
  • Doug Foster - This was my first trip to the movie theater since the mid 90's.
  • Pat Schutt - It may be my favorite because it was the only Hollywood movie I went to see! Fred Christiansen's lunchtime lecture about the movie afterward confirmed my reasoning on this one.
  • Andrea Beller, Nancy Pogue, Bonnie Hudson, Marilyn Hancock, Earl Ensrud, Jack Paxton, Thomas Galer-Unti, Jean Peters, Marilyn Hancock
  • Bari Arnot - It was a fantastic film! Very edge of your seat entertaining!
  • Scottie Miller - Even though you might have known the outcome of the movie, it kept you in breath-holding, edge-of-seat suspense until the end! Definitely the best movie I've seen in a long time!
  • George Perlstein
  • Carol Schaeffer - This is a very powerful musical. The score is fantastic.
  • Mary Mortland - I really enjoyed the script/singing.


  • Cathe Capel - Visually stunning. The questions are deftly presented and the audience has a role in defining the answers.
  • Dave Krchak - A few weeks ago I would have said Life of Pi was my favorite movie, but we recently saw Silver Linings Playbook, which I loved.
Silver Linings Playbook - Dave Krchak, Marilyn Hancock
Beasts of the Southern Wild - Pat Guthrie, Barbara Kessel


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Isabel Cole, Georgia Morgan


The Hobbit - Carol Schaeffer: Haven't seen it yet, but it will be The Hobbit.
Snow White and the Huntsman - Sam Bostaph: I'm a sucker for adventure/romance and this film was not only that, but was a well-written, well-acted, well-filmed fantasy with a strong hero and heroine. For once, a movie lived up to the reviews. 


The Sessions - Thomas Galer-Unti


The King's Speech - Albert Slater


Bernie - Mary House


The Avengers - Thomas Galer-Unti


Web Watch  
Websites for OLLI-ites  
Animals and Webcams: Keeping Up with Your Favorite Animals and Places

Travel and animals are two appealing aspects of many OLLI members' lives. Have you ever travelled and then, when home, wished you could revisit a particular spot, "just to watch those eagles/pandas (replace with your favorite animal) again?"


Once more, the internet makes reliving some special memories easier. Or it can help you see special sites when you cannot go there. Through live nature webcams around the United States and the world, you can laugh as the pandas play, be amazed at the eagles' nests, wait for the elephants to come to their favorite watering hole, or count the salmon as they go up or down the Columbia River. All of these webcams are seasonal, depending on the animal, climate, and what you want to see.  Many webcams are available and can be found by Googling the animal, region, or topic in which you are interested.

Within the United States, The National Park Service has park webcams in all national parks. Simply click on the map for the one you wish to see.


Image from fish cam
Salmon running through the Bonneville Dam fish ladder as seen on the Fish and Wildlife Service live webcam 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has webcams for viewing fish and eagles. These are seasonal, but are amazing when the eagles are nesting or the salmon are running. (This is not the time of year for either, but we wanted to share them with you so you will be ready in the spring.)  


 The annual salmon run on the Columbia River can be viewed at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder webcam. Here a person sits in the room in front of this window and counts the salmon as they go through the ladder. 
Other Fish and Wildlife webcams include:
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