Electronic Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- May 2013
In This Issue
OLLI Welcomes NEH Chairman James A. Leach
Message from OLLI Director Chris Catanzarite
University Code of Conduct
Dispatches from the OLLI Office
Thank you class hosts!
Call for Photographers for OLLI Photo Albums
The Buzz...News from the classroom
Krannert Uncorked
New Feature! Getting to Know You: What was your most unusual job?

Quick Links 

e-News Committee: Cheri Sullivan (Chair), Frank Chadwick, Bonnie Hudson,  Barbara Meyer (Technical Coordinator).

Please send your ideas and stories for consideration to OLLI@Illinois.edu 
OLLI Announcements

Study Group sign-up for the early-summer session begins on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 a.m. A list of groups will be circulated to the members before registration begins , and copies are available in the office.. 


Thursday, May 16 - 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Main Lobby, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Music by the Painkillers (blues in the traditional Chicago and Southern styles) 

Save the Date!
The OLLI Annual Meeting and Dinner will be held on Tuesday, June 11. Members will receive an invitation and full details soon.
OLLI Welcomes NEH Chairman James A. Leach


OLLI at Illinois welcomed James A. Leach, the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, on Wednesday afternoon, April 17 for a very special event, "'Democracy Demands Wisdom': An OLLI Conversation with NEH Chairman James A. Leach."


Chairman Leach began the discussion with opening remarks about the NEH, the work it supports, and especially the state of the political climate in Washington in 2013. He drew on his experiences at the NEH since his appointment by President Barack Obama in 2009, and also on his 30 years as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Iowa's 2nd congressional district. Chairman Leach noted that there are multiple opportunities for engagement in the public humanities, and identified lifelong learning programs like OLLI at Illinois as natural sites for collaborative projects.


After these opening remarks, Chairman Leach welcomed questions from, and conversation with, OLLI members on a variety of issues, including the ongoing effects of sequestration, the shift in some university programs toward a "vocational training" model, the importance of digitization, and the impact of recent Supreme Court rulings including Citizens United.


At the end of the event, there was a short reception where attendees had the opportunity to greet Chairman Leach and give him a warm welcome to OLLI at Illinois.


The conversation was moderated by OLLI member Martha Wagner Weinberg, who serves on the National Council on the Humanities - an advisory board of 26 distinguished private citizens appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Martha was appointed to the Council by President Barack Obama in June 2011, and will serve a six-year term.


A Message from OLLI Director Chris Catanzarite

The mission statement of the National Endowment for the Humanities says, "Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens." This is what our recent guest, James Leach, advocates nationwide in his role as Chairman of the NEH. This is also what lifelong learning is: it is the ongoing process of creating an enlightened citizenry. And OLLI at Illinois is, in many ways, a perfect laboratory for this mission of engaged citizenship across the lifespan.


Each day, we come together in the public square of OLLI to advance our understanding of the world we live in - our history, our literatures and languages, philosophy, ethics, comparative religions and cultural studies. We explore the creativity and intellectual value of the humanities, arts, and sciences as interrelated enterprises that appeal to our best desires to consider new ideas or look at long-held beliefs from a fresh perspective. Without grades or credits in our courses, liberated from fulfilling the requirements of a particular degree or training for a specific profession, we celebrate learning as an end in itself - knowledge as its own reward.


During the past few months, the OLLI committees and staff have been working on plans for the summer and especially the new fall semester (which begins on September 16). We will be bringing you an exciting lineup of courses and lectures in which we learn from distinguished scholars, study groups that bring us together around shared interests and stimulating ideas, engagement projects that connect us to the community and the world. Each session, the adventure begins anew - and we look forward to sharing those announcements with you in the weeks and months ahead.


Best wishes,


May 2013  


The University Code of Conduct

At OLLI at Illinois, we are proud to maintain a community that is based on respect and tolerance for our fellow members and other associates of the program. Our courses, study groups, and lectures occasionally tackle subjects that inspire passionate responses - yet our interactions take place in an atmosphere of civility and integrity. The Code and its guidelines for the University of Illinois community can be found online here.


Dispatches from the OLLI Office

Friday, April 26 was Office Administrator Brenda Deaville's last

day at OLLI, after being with the program since its inception in 2006. We appreciate all she has done for OLLI at Illinois during that time, and we wish her all the best in her new endeavors! We also welcome Brenda Stevenson to the office; she will be assisting at the front desk while we search for a permanent replacement. 

OLLI joined other University organizations in the Campus and Community Day of Service. See video. 
OLLI members participated in the first annual Community and Campus Day of Service on Saturday, April 20, joining with hundreds of other volunteers to prepare and package meals for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

This wide-ranging collaborative project created nutritious meals using recipes developed in the university's Soybean Research Laboratory, and produced 146,000 meals - 1,000 for each year since the University of Illinois was chartered, and enough to feed 20% of the local population that uses the Foodbank's resources. 
Video preview of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library


Spaces are still available for two upcoming OLLI trips:  


The June 25 day-trip to Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, led by Guy Fraker,  


The three-day trip to the Chicago Jazz Festival in late August, led by Sam Reese.  


To learn more about these travel opportunities, visit the  OLLI travel page.  

Thank you class hosts for spring semester!
OLLI Photo Albums

The OLLI e-News is looking for photography aficionados, amateur photo artists, and simply lovers of photography to share some of your favorite work with fellow OLLI members. The e-News is beginning a focused photography feature, and we are asking you to share with us a single photo that fits that issue's stated topic.


Let's begin with TRAVEL! Please submit one photo from any trip you have taken. Your submitted photo may appear in the e-News, OLLI website, Facebook, or other OLLI publication. You will be credited if your photo is used in any of these publications.


So...email a favorite travel photo (ONLY ONE) in jpg format to Bonnie Hudson (bonniebhudson@gmail.com). In your email, include the following information:

  • Name of OLLI Photographer submitting the photo (You must have taken the photo yourself and have the rights to it.)
  • Photo title
  • Description of photo (No more than 140 characters, please.)
  • Date taken (month and year)
  • Don't forget to attach your photo! (jpg format only)

We cannot promise to publish all photos. We know OLLI members are great photographers, though, so let's share some of our favorites with each other.



The Buzz
News from the classroom 
OLLI at Illinois course taught by Professor Barrington Coleman -- "Heart, Body, and Soul: American Sacred and Secular Music Styles" -- in spring 2013. Coleman and special guests from the University of Illinois School of Music perform for the OLLI students on March 1.  

Heart, Body, Soul: Contemporary American Secular and Sacred Music Styles

Class host Eileen Kohen reported on the wonderful variety of speakers and entertainers that Barrington Coleman brought to the class, including members of the U of I Jazz Band. Other guests were Sherrika Ellison, who spoke and sang about gospel music; Sandra Paola Lopez, who taught and demonstrated how dance movements impact vocal performance; and Jacob Goldstein, who gave musical renditions from the American Songbook. On March 1 students were instructed to "bring your dancing shoes and questions for what we hope will be a fun time." They were treated to a live performance by some illustrious guests: Professor Chip McNeil, Chair of the Jazz Studies program, on saxophone; Jazz Studies graduate students Ark Ovrutski on bass and Nick Zielinski on drums; Crofton Coleman, undergraduate Jazz Studies student, on trumpet and vocals; and Barrington Coleman on piano.


The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln on the Eighth Judicial Circuit

Guy Fraker reprised his earlier class on Lincoln on the Eighth Circuit in a shortened four-week version and with a great twist. Instead of covering the story chronologically, as he did before, he concentrated on Lincoln's cases with respect to the hot-button issues of his day, notably alcohol and slavery. That provided a much more focused view of where Lincoln stood on the issues and how his position evolved over time.


Epic chase scene from David Attenborough's award winning TV documentary series, "The Life of Mammals" 
Illinois Mammals

Mammalogist Joe Merritt from the Natural History Survey introduced us to a world seldom seen. Did you know the smallest mammal in the world lives right here in Illinois? The tiny Pygmy Shrew weighs in at one ounce. And that the most common mammal in Illinois isn't a mouse, but the Northern Short tailed Shrew? These little guys are busy 24/7 all year 'round in their underground tunnels beneath our feet. Their high metabolic rate requires such constant fuel in the form of grubs and insects, that if a shrew weighed 100 lbs. it would have to eat 600 quarter-pound hamburgers a day. Shrews become part of the food web themselves, as demonstrated by the close call in this dramatic real-life chase scene filmed in Africa.


introduction to Latin

Kay Neal's

introductory Latin class filled two classroom sessions with enthusiastic OLLI-ites, and spawned a follow-up study group, Latin Practice, facilitated by Guy Murphy. There's talk of more Latin to come this fall. One in-class project involved an examination of the valedictory speech given by Pope Benedict XVI in late February - in Latin, of course!   



Let's Make a Quilt: An Artists' Workshop

If you see OLLI-ites lugging machines into the classroom and spreading fabric in the building's open spaces, realize that they are members of OLLI's hands-on quilt class, led by nationally recognized quilt artist Deborah Fell. She is teaching class members to express themselves through fabric by creating a quilt without using a pattern. Every quilt is different - some members are incorporating photos of their family, travel, or garden, while others are using fabrics from their native land or are expressing their creativity through colors and cloths they love.


World War I: History and Significance

Among the high points for many students of Walter Tousey's class were the guest lecturers and presenters, especially the slide presentation by Ira Lebenson of the French war memorials and military cemeteries he photographed on his trip to Europe.


Understanding Weather and Climate in the 21st Century

Eric Snodgrass's class provided a set of great weather-related websites for following weather and planetary conditions. Class host Charlie Wisseman suggested that others in OLLI would probably like to look at these -- they are posted here on the OLLI class site,   

OLLI Uncorked - It's Here To Stay


OLLI is more than just a collection of courses and study groups; it's a community with social as well as intellectual aspects. The social aspects are usually informal - morning study groups adjourning to Houlihan's for lunch, classes having dinners or parties, etc. OLLI has its annual dinner as well, but that's an official affair.


In January OLLI tried something new: inviting OLLI members to just show up at the fourth Thursday of the month Krannert Uncorked event. No one knew how it would turn out, but it was wildly (or as wild as we get these days) successful. Over a hundred OLLI-ites showed up. We repeated the event in February and also had a good turnout, and that time we pulled tables and chairs together to make an OLLI section. As of March it is now an official "thing," OLLI Uncorked, the fourth Thursday of every month.


For those of you who have not attended, a local winery provides free samples of two or three of their wines along with several types of cheese. Beer, wine and soda are also available for purchase at the bar in the lobby. Sometimes there's live music as well. It's held in the main lobby of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and runs from 5:00 to 6:30. It's a great chance to chat with other OLLI members and just unwind. Join us next time if you can.
New Feature! Getting to Know You

For this new column, we asked OLLI members to tell us about their most unusual job. If you ever need to autopsy a hippo or peel some hot dogs, you'll know who can help!


Elizabeth Abraham - I picked olives at a Boys Home in Beit Jala on the West Bank. Later we carried buckets of olives to a stone press and I could take some of the oil home with me. The Home let folks staying at their guest house join the boys in harvesting. Best job ever.


John Bennett - I suppose the most unusual job I have ever had would be a toss-up between having been a racehorse hot-walker and having been a scarfer's helper in a steel mill.   


Maureen Berry - Traveling around the world as an independent consultant, working on State Department funded projects.

George Brock - Hands-down it has to be manufacturing and dispensing my first hyper-alimentation Rx. At that time, 1968, I was working as an apprentice pharmacist at Presbyterian St. Luke's hospital. The idea of successfully delivering a patient's nutritional requirements intravenously was very new and daunting and usually only done by an experienced pharmacist. Inasmuch as Luke's was a cutting edge teaching institution, I usually did not sign up for more clinical classes in pharmacy school; however, I got the surprise of my life when we visited the university hospital across the street and the preceptor discovered that I worked at Luke's. My assignment? You guessed it: a hyper-alimentation Rx  - charts, resident consultation and all. I had never done this before all by myself but I learned very quickly that it was much more than sterile technique and a laminar flow hood and that I did have the knowledge and expertise to do a very complicated job - even as an apprentice. 


Rabel J. Burdge - It may not be that unusual, but interesting - I was a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service.   


Ed Bruner - The most unusual job I ever had was my regular one as an anthropology professor. I could elaborate.


Cathy Capel - Assistant Instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). 


Chris Catanzarite - While I was in college, I spent my summers working at a large theme park in northern Ohio. I was a shameless midway barker, selling everything from balloons and glow-in-the-dark necklaces to furry monkey puppets. I also lived in employee housing on the grounds of the park, so I woke each morning to the screams of riders on the roller coaster just outside my window!  


Yoline Chandler - Way back when I was a college student, I spent a summer working in a Swift & Co. meat plant - peeling hot dogs.  In those days, hot dog production was not automated. The "meat" mixture (contents not divulged, thank goodness) was forced by a machine into long cellophane tubes, which were pinched at intervals, then hung to bake in a large vertical oven. Four or five of us would spend 8 hours a day in a small refrigerated room, peeling the "skins" off the cooled, now-solid dogs. They were then hand-packaged by workers at another table. I refused to eat hot dogs for years afterwards! 


Pat. Chapel - It's not unusual, but perhaps a surprise - from 1954 to 1956, I did bar tending.

Isabel Cole - Probably working the night shift during summer break from college at Green Giant, hulling corn and picking peas, or maybe coaching an Exxon CEO in English during a year in Colombia.


Don Dodds - The most unusual -- and interesting -- job I ever had was a summer job between my junior and senior years in high school when I was an usher at a drive-in theater. We ushers had flashlights, and directed incoming cars where to park. The job had three advantages. When things were slow, we could watch the movie on the big screen. The concession stand was close, and we could easily get a drink or a snack. And -- most interestingly -- we could see who was dating whom -- and what was going on in the cars!  


Craig Cutbirth - The summer after I graduated from high school, I painted farms. I was the youngest member of the crew and got to do the fun stuff, like paint the peak of the barn on the side where the animals (it was Iowa, they were pigs) were penned. The smell on a hot day was overpowering, and the hogs liked to scratch themselves on the ladder.

Helen Sweeny Farmer -  My most unusual job was my first job, which began in 1939 when I was 9 years old and World War II had just begun for Canadians. I was living in a small village on the edge of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Our school teachers encouraged us to put 25 cents a week into a War Savings Bond. I decided to see if some of my neighbors would pay me for delivering the daily mail to them. I could collect the mail from the local Post Office a little over a mile from my home. I successfully convinced 10 neighbors to pay me 10 cents a week to deliver their mail on a daily basis. I also learned a lasting lesson about the Postman's mantra, "deliver the mail, rain or shine, snow or blizzard" and I proudly held to it. I bought my War Savings Bond with 25 cents each week and with the remaining earnings I started a savings account in the local bank. I have to admit, though, that when the tremendous amount of holiday mail delayed the sorting process at the Post Office, I spent some of my money on an apple turnover from the bakery across the street.

Douglas Foster - I cut down thistles on my grandpa's farm. It was hard work because there were so many of them.

Diane Gottheil - Inspecting jails in South Carolina for their compliance with state standards.

David Gross - My most unusual job was, by far, my best job. A long time ago, for portions of each of six summers, I served as Chief Scientist on the scientific research ships R.V. Inland Seas, R.V. Laureatian and the C.S.S. Limnos. The first was a wooden hulled 114' converted WW II mine layer, the second was built for science on an 80' hull designed originally to service off shore oil wells, and the third was designed and built for science, a 148' steel hulled, versatile ship. All of the work was in the Great Lakes.


Connie Hosier - During the summer of 1975, I needed a job until my regular teaching position started up again in the fall. In 1975, The Bureau of Indian Affairs wanted a summer reading teacher for adjudicated teenage male Native Americans who were serving time for violent crimes. Their rehabilitation was set up on a behavior modification model of rewards and restrictions that I documented during my 3 hours a day of "teaching".  I failed both as a teacher and as a "behavior modifier." The boys always weighed the pros and cons of "acting out" most often with abusive profanity or threats of violence toward their classmates or me. They knew it was worth it to commit a violation and lose a privilege, since the penalties were weak. Unbelievable chaos was the classroom standard where angry boys split up by tribal allegiance, and fought it out. Powerless, I stood by shouting and notating punishments. They completely ignored me. Six bucks an hour and the absurdity of the BIA's reform school left me with plenty of tall tales of Indian warfare, an ability to swear in Apache or Navajo, and to be grateful to get back to just hormonally challenged junior high students and the fact, that I survived unscathed.


Elisabeth Jenicek - Third Assistant Engineer on the S.S. Mobiloil tanker.    


Linda Jordan - Over the years I have had many different jobs, all involving music in one way or another. I think the most unusual job, and perhaps one of the most enjoyable, has to be my job at OLLI for the last two fall sessions, teaching Music Theory to seniors. When I was asked to teach the music theory class for OLLI I really expected a very small turnout for the class, and I was totally amazed when the class size approached 35-40 people. Teaching a complicated subject like Music Theory is always a challenge when the class is very diverse in music experience and training, but especially when it happens only for only eight weeks with a single one-and-a-half hour per class meeting and with no homework. Since the goal of the class was to foster a better understanding of the "blueprint" of the musical composition they were hearing, I decided to take an expanded approach with a familiar subject---using the sound and visual technology available at the OLLI classroom to supplement instruction from my accustomed textbooks and on the whiteboard. I arranged with the U of I Department of Music for the loan of a piano to be used in the classroom. Mixing basic instruction with visuals and aural examples using the audio equipment as well as the piano seemed to be the answer to moving the class along. It seems the classes were successful and even stimulated a few to do composing on their own. Often I have seen class members at Krannert concerts who would find me to talk about what they were hearing in the music which they had not noticed before and ask questions about it. I still sometimes meet former students to look over their compositions and recommend things to them.

Maxine Kaler - I was a babysitter for celebrities - mostly minor ones.

Barbara Kaufman - The summer before my senior year in college, I stuffed envelopes for the Guarantee Reserve Live Insurance Company.  The job is not that unusual, but its great value was. What I learned about the placement and angling of all the inserts and envelopes was invaluable in my first job at the University. As the secretary for the four elementary physics courses, I had to produce and assemble five or six mimeographed pages of hour exams and final exams for courses of hundreds of students each. With the knowledge I had gained from that summer job, I saved hours of tedious labor.

Bonnie Kelley - I was a cremationist. Thirty-some years ago I was asked to take over a bankrupt family owned business with concrete manufacturing plants in Danville and Urbana. When the business was on its feet, I saw an additional opportunity to expand by having a crematory in the Urbana facility, the only one in the area. I recently retired and the businesses are being run by my daughter and son-in-law, Rich and Libby Herr. Libby also installed a pet crematory.

Kathy Kinser - My husband Dave and I have assisted the ornithologists at the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) to catch, weigh, measure and record information prior to banding and releasing of 9 of the 16 species of hummingbirds that visit Southeastern Arizona.  


Sue Klefstad - I was a swineherd at the university swine nutrition research farm. I've had a number of muck-scooping jobs, but I enjoyed having the job title "swineherd" in that particular position.


Karl Koenke - These are not unique, but there is quite a range: paper boy, grocery store stock boy, grocery store check out clerk, assembled large electrical switches, laboratory technician in a steel foundry, dishwasher in a restaurant, wash-up crew of a dairy, tool crib attendant in a manufacturing plant, shoot blaster in same plant, ran a grinder in an iron foundry, inspector of castings in an iron foundry, computer in fire direction control/US Army artillery, janitor of an elementary school, secondary English teacher, research assistant in Education at UW, faculty member in Education at UI.


Charles Kozoll - From 1965 to 1968, I coordinated language training programs for the Peace Corps at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. After 3.5 years in East Africa, my Swahili was adequate but I was basically illiterate in Somali. With the help of a Columbia University professor of linguistics, we developed a training program for instructors that was adopted by the Peace Corps for many years. I selected instructors and monitored their and trainee performances. My work at Columbia paid for my tuition and lodging, along with a salary. Also, for one summer month after I graduated from high school, I had a job cleaning swimming pools. The boss fired me when he made an unannounced visit to a client and found me relaxing in his pool. 

Bob Lacey - Gandy dancer. Gandy dancers is the term used for railroad workers who laid and maintained railroad tracks before machines did the job. (Editor's note: We thought readers might be interested in this 1973 video from the Folkstreams Archive at Chapel Hill, which features recordings of the work chants of Gandy Dancers and focuses on the changes brought about by mechanization) 


Georgia McCartney - I worked at the Champaign Police Department, 1977-1981. We were located in the city building. I was a secretary for STEP (Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol). The only room available for the STEP officers and myself was the former women's jail room. All the cells had been removed except for one; my desk was next to the jail cell, which stored ammunition. The men's jail was across the hall. All arrests came through the backdoor past my office. Needless to say, it was a most unusual and interesting work environment. So during the time I worked in that location, I witnessed lots of interesting stories.

Barbara Meyer - "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the captured German Submarine U505". My most unusual job was also my first - as a demonstrator at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. As a science major I was assigned other topics as well, but we all gave tours of the museum's most popular exhibit. The entire script is still buried somewhere in my neurons, and once in awhile an image or sound pops to the surface - the torpedoes, conning tower, double hull, banks of gauges, the dive buzzer... 


George Miller - During my first year of college, I had a summer job in the nursery of the Forest Preserve of Cook County which included an occasional visit  to Brookfield Zoo, where we collected fertilizer. As the new guy, I was assigned the elephant cage.    


Jeff Miller - I was one of a work crew that installed/assembled a full sized fifty feet tall freight elevator on a set of railroad tracks. The elevator was to be used to unload train cars from one side of the elevator and then roll down the train tracks, with the load on the elevator platform, deposit the package, using the other side of the elevator, into a concrete space in a structure fifty feet tall comprised of many cubicles to accept the parcels from the train cars. Otis only tried this twice I believe with less than perfect results.


Carol Mizrahi - Writing greeting card verse for Gibson Greeting Cards, Cincinnati, Ohio (for three years).  


Georgia Morgan - I had a one-day acting gig working for ILEAS (Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System), posing as a terrorist scouting sites on campus and trying to spot the agents who were looking for me.

Mary Mortland - The most unusual job I have ever had was an "insect pinner" with the Illinois Natural Survey. The staff collected species of insects and brought them to the lab. I identified the species from identification tables and pinned them to styrofoam soaked with naphtha (mothballs) to preserve/mount them. I went home with such awful headaches from the smell of the naphtha.

Pam Olson - My family has hosted over 400 international students and their families from 74 countries during the past 40 years and my parents hosted AFS students prior to that. It has been lots of fun and a great learning experience. I still keep in contact with many of them and their children come to visit us. I will be staying with the parents of one of my students next month. The U of I has a great program and if you are interested, you may contact the IHC office for details.

George Perlstein - It would have to be when I traded boxing lessons for my piano teacher's son for piano lessons from her. I hope he turned out to be a better boxer than I did a pianist!


Jo Pride - In 1985 we were living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I worked as a volunteer 3 days a week at the Cheshire Home for the Handicapped. A most worthy job.   


Judy Reynolds - The most unusual job I ever had was working in Survey and Sales for the Riverside, CA Press Enterprise newspaper. My job was to take a list of subscribers to a neighborhood and knock on the doors of the addresses not on my list. I then asked them the 'survey' questions. "Do you subscribe to the paper?" "Have you ever subscribed?" "Would you like a free copy of today's paper?" "Subscriptions are only $-- per month, may I sign you up?" Tramping around in the summer afternoons, when the temperatures were often over 100 degrees, made being perky a challenge, but I guess I succeeded because I sold a lot of subscriptions.

Barak Rosenshine - Digging ditches using an over-sized hoe on a kibbutz.

Connie Roux - The strangest job I ever had was scheduling semi trucks to pick up huge loads of meat in one area of the country to be unloaded in warehouses in another area. I had to negotiate the price paid for the meat load, and the price paid to the truckers, as well as schedule the time it would take to get from one place to another. We dealt with multiple companies - whoever had meat to sell, and whoever could truck it. It was a terrible, stressful job, and I was never quite sure how ethical. I only stayed two weeks, and still shake my head when I think about it.

Terry Ruprecht - While a young engineer at Michigan State, I spent a couple of days performing HVAC (ventilation) measurements in the Veterinary Medicine necropsy lab, while below me they were autopsying a hippopotamus. The hippo at the Detroit Zoo had died suddenly and they were determining cause of death. (Turned out a young kid threw a tennis ball into the hippo's mouth while it was in a big yawn. The tennis ball lodged in its windpipe and it suffocated. Sad.) Not many folks get to watch the autopsy of a hippo! 


Jonathan Sivier -
In 1977, while a student at the U of I, Mark Page and I were hired to build a new news and weather set for WICD, Channel 15.  We got the job through connections, Mark was my friend from high school and my roommate at the time and he was the son of Keith Page who did the weather at the station. WICD was housed in the Inman Hotel in downtown Champaign at the time and the studio space was very cramped.  In fact there was no room in the studio to do the construction, so we built the set in pieces in a small room down the hall and then over one winter weekend transported it down the hall, into the studio space and set it up. One memory I have that illustrates how small the space was is that after the set was in use I was watching the news one evening and one of the camera men failed to lock their camera while the credits were rolling and it turned just a little.  It was only a little bit, but it was enough to see the supporting post that was in the middle of the room with rolled up cables and a fire extinguisher hanging on it. The following year the station moved to a new location near Country Fair, where they are to this day, and once again we were hired to build the new set for the new studio.  This time we had plenty of room to work and built a much larger and more expansive set.  That set was used for several years until they did some remodeling sometime in the 1980's. 

Albert Slater - Cleaning the threads on the fuse of artillery shells in an munitions plant during WW II (1940, S. Hampton, England - The Weir Precision Company).  


Myrtle Slater - I worked in a broom factory - wrapping bundles of six brooms to ready them for shipment. I lost the job because the 6-piece bundles were too heavy for me and I asked the men to lift the bundles up to the table to be wrapped. I was too short for the job!


James Smith - I've never had an unusual job. I was and am a farmer. I farm the land that was started by my great-great-grandfather in 1828 here along the border of Champaign/Vermilion counties. I also now have my deceased wife's farm that was started by her great-grandfather. Since nowadays farmers comprise less than 2% of the workers in the US, perhaps you could say it is unusual.


Robert Sprague - I suppose it was testifying in court under the strain of harsh questioning by good defense lawyers. My research at the U of Illinois involved the effects of stimulant medication on hyperactive children, especially the effects on learning. Our research clearly showed that the dosage for learning improvement was only one tenth of the dose typically given for control of difficult behavior, much too high for optimum learning in the classroom. When this news reached the parents' groups, they began to sue doctors and drug companies. I was often called to testify. Drug companies involved had more than sufficient funds to employ the best defense lawyers, who were very tough at cross examination. Often they would arrange the schedule so that they would have a whole day to question me. I developed a very tough strategy to defend against them. If they would insult me, as they often did, I would try to insult them twice as often. If they asked a particularly dumb question, I could not say "You dumb ass, that is the most stupid question I have ever heard." But I could say, "If you were aware of the research in this area, you would know that is not a pertinent question." And I would say this in various forms over and over again, making a point of their lack of knowledge as often as possible. This is what I term "verbal combat," and I was engaged in this verbal combat repeatedly. I must say such a reaction placed a considerable strain on me, and I was dead tired after such a session.


Cynthia Swanson - I once had a temp job at the National Maritime Union hiring hall in San Francisco. Men would hang around the hall waiting for various jobs on ships that might be sailing that day, the next day and bid on them.  Next they had to find where the ship was leaving from and they had to have the right papers for the job. It was a slice of life I had never seen.


Denise Taylor - In the 70's, I worked as an epidemiologist and health planner for the Public Health Service, setting up clinics in medically underserved communities. A favorite project was in a very small town in the Boot Heel of Missouri, where the outpatient clinic, hospital, nursing home, and morgue were all housed in one dilapidated mansion - true one-stop shopping. A sole physician was the family doc, obstetrician, surgeon, ambulance driver, and coroner. At mealtimes, all patients and staff could be found eating together in the formal dining room, where the menus (like the medical records) were on index cards.


Ginny Waaler - The most interesting and enlightening job I ever had was being the Director of the China Executive Leadership Programs at the UI. I met many wonderful Chinese men and women on a personal basis, worked with interesting UI faculty and administrators, visited many local, state, and U.S. businesses and government organizations, and traveled to China several times. Pretty interesting job for a girl who grew up in a small town in Minnesota.


Jean Weigel - I delivered mail (unofficially and to only one address), either by rowboat or on the waterfront path, on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, where I had a "real" job. 


Olli Logo
1800 Oak Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820