Newsletter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois 

Letter from the Director


Dear OLLI Friends,


We are now nearly four weeks into the spring semester (and inching closer to the actual springtime!), and it has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm that fills our classrooms and hallways each day. How exciting it is to hear snippets of conversations about everything from genomics to orchestras, from Putin to Shakespeare! It is very special to be a part of something that generates such lively discussion and strong sense of community.


We are now offering more courses (and study groups, and lectures) than we ever have before. And, shortly before the spring semester began, our membership topped 1,200 for the first time - an exciting benchmark to reach! The story of OLLI has always been one of growth and dynamic progress, and this chapter continues that impressive tradition. At the same time, more people, and more activities, means greater demand upon our existing resources and a greater need for a space that will allow OLLI to continue to grow and thrive for many years to come.


As I wrote in the September issue of the e-News, this period of expansion coincides with the end of OLLI's current lease on June 30 of this year. In preparation for this, I have been working with the OLLI Board and the University of Illinois administration for more than a year to investigate the options before us. We have sought proposals from our current landlord and other suitable spaces to determine the best choice for OLLI. Careful attention has been paid at every stage in the process to making a decision that considers the very best interests of our members and our institute, now and in the years ahead.


This thorough administrative process is nearing its end, and a formal announcement will be made in the first week of March. Until then, we will be busy dotting all of the i's and crossing all of the T's - and I hope that you understand why we have to wait until everything is official before providing you with a detailed announcement. I know that you are as eager to hear the news as I am to share it with you! And the time is nearly here.


Until then, I hope you will continue to immerse yourself in our spring courses, think about facilitating a study group, fill out an Oscar ballot, register for the many upcoming lectures and library programs, and engage with friends both old and new within the OLLI community. The future is looking very exciting - and the present is pretty terrific, too!


Best wishes,




A local architectural treasure


Mosaic, Engineering Hall; University of Illinois symbol 


designed by Nathan Ricker (Class of 1873), the country's first graduate in architecture who went on to chair the Department of Architecture and design such university landmarks as Altgeld Hall and the Natural History Building


OLLI-Road Scholar Trip to Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes

Registration is underway for this trip, which is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29 through Saturday, August 8, 2015. The trip will take travelers on a journey through eastern Canada aboard the "Ocean" train and revel in the charm of Quebec and the Maritimes.


To learn more about the trip and how to register, visit the OLLI website and click the link "All Aboard the 'Ocean'" link at:


Registration for this trip will be made through Road Scholar; please contact them directly at (800) 322-5315 and reference Program #22054. This trip is open to members of OLLI at Illinois. A member may also register a non-member guest to accompany them on the trip.


A full-color copy of the trip brochure is available in the OLLI office; please inquire at the main desk.


Thank you to the Travel Committee for organizing this wonderful travel opportunity!

In This Issue
Photo credits: Banner photo "Meadowbrook Park" by Linda Coleman. Member photo "Gorgeous Find, Windy City" by Rhonda Fallon

See more members' photos in our 
albums on Facebook
OLLI Calendar

March 2015
9 - Study Group Proposals due
18 - Registration for Study Groups

20 - Spring Semester Ends

April 2015

13 - Study Groups begin

May 2015

25 - OLLI Closed; Memorial Day

June 2015
8 - Study Groups End

9 - Annual Meeting and Dinner 

16 - Fall course registration begins


Digital Bulletin Board!
We encourage you to check our digital bulletin board (just inside the entrance to the OLLI office suite) for each day's class schedule - along with special events and upcoming deadlines.

Check it out when you're at OLLI for the most up-to-date news on the day's activities!

OLLI logo

4th Annual OLLI Oscar Contest AND Movie and Pizza Party


Ballots are available in the office now for the 4th Annual Oscar Contest! The contest is open to all OLLI members; one entry per person, and completed ballots must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 19.


Winners will be announced, and prizes will be awarded, on Thursday, February 26 at the Movie and Pizza Party. (Winners need not be present; and you don't have to participate in the Oscar contest to attend the movie and pizza party - but it sure would be fun to do both!)


To enter the Oscar Contest, stop by the office and pick up your ballot today!


To register for the Movie and Pizza Party, see the details and instructions below.


Movie and Pizza Party 

Heaven Can Wait


Thursday, February 26

5:00 p.m. at OLLI

(pizza at 5:00, Oscar prizes at 5:15, movie at 5:30)


Cost: $5 per person (advance registration and payment required) - dinner includes pizza, soft drinks, and snacks


The OLLI Membership Committee invites you to take a break during this cold winter for a night of pizza, friends, and a terrific movie with a long Hollywood history - and 9 Oscar nominations! Join us for the 1978 film Heaven Can Wait, starring Warren Beatty and a supporting cast that features Julie Christie, James Mason, Buck Henry, Dyan Cannon, Charles Grodin, and Jack Warden.



About the movie: Joe Pendleton (Beatty) is a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams who is involved in an accident and is mistakenly escorted to heaven by an overzealous guardian angel (co-writer and co-director Buck Henry). By the time the error is discovered, Joe's body has been cremated - so he returns to earth in the body of a wealthy industrialist, but never gives up his dream to lead the Rams to the Super Bowl. This charming, smart romantic comedy confronts big questions about destiny and fate as Joe navigates an uncertain path in his new body.


Open to all OLLI members! Guests are welcome. Please contact the OLLI office if you wish to register a non-member guest.


To register (no later than February 23):

  1. Log in to your OLLI account at - search the drop-down menu for "Events," and register
  2. By email - send your registration request to
  3. By phone at 244-9141
  4. At the office during business hours (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)


  Spring Lecture Series

"The Dimensions of Wellness and Aging" 


This spring, OLLI is featuring several presentations on the dimensions of wellness that are studied by faculty and students in the U of I Department of Kinesiology. These lectures were recommended by Leanza Pulido, a Kinesiology undergraduate, as part of her fall 2014 student internship at OLLI. Lectures will be added to our calendar, and available for registration, as those plans are finalized.


The dimensions of wellness:

  • Social wellness is about interactions with friends, family, and other groups.
  • Psychological wellness is about being able to stabilize your emotions during stressful times and deal with conflict.
  • Physical wellness is about being able to go about daily activities without fatigue or physical stress.
  • Spiritual wellness is about being able to establish peace and harmony in your life.
  • Environmental wellness is about being able to recognize the impact that we have on our environment, and being able to bring about positive change to the environment.
  • Intellectual wellness is about being able to open your mind to new experiences and ideas. (OLLI is the perfect example of how to achieve intellectual wellness!)

A brochure with more information, including suggested readings and online resources, is available in the OLLI office.

Websites for OLLI-ites

Be an armchair explorer!


Have you ever wanted to track penguins in Antarctica? Decipher ancient inscriptions? Find planes that crashed in the ocean? You can do all these things and more at various sites on the web that allow you to participate in research or community service from the comfort of your own home.


Zooniverse - Real Science Online 
Through the Citizen Science Alliance, Zooniverse partners with academic and research institutions worldwide. They post projects that take advantage of volunteers to help manage the flood of data their research generates in the fields of Space, Climate, Humanities, Nature, Biology, and Physics. Among the many current projects are:

            Penguin Watch - Tag penguins, chicks, and eggs in photos of penguin nesting sites in Antarctica. You also tag other animals in the photos so the scientists can identify predators.

            Galaxy Zoo - "Few have seen what you're about to see." Use photos from the Hubble telescope and other sources to classify galaxies according to their shape.
            Operation War Diary - Transcribe some of the 1.5 million diary pages written by British Army solidiers on the Western Front.

            Old Weather - Monitor earth's climate using historic ship logs.

            Chicago Wildlife Watch - Look through over a million photos to identify wildlife from the Loop to the burbs.

            Whale Song Project -  Match sounds to help researchers understand what whales are saying.


Amazon Mechanical Turk 

Work on HITs (human intelligence tasks) and even get paid (a small amount) for it. Developers, businesses, and researchers from academic institutions including the University of Illinois collect data from volunteers who participate in their online projects. Current tasks include such things as identifying the relationship of people in photos, transcribing text from images, writing short questions, and researching a company's social recruiting footprint.



Help solve real-world problems using satellite images at Tomnod. This is the site where volunteers scanned shots of the ocean to search for the lost Malaysian plane. Current projects you can become involved in include monitoring offshore fishing, mapping remote Asian villages, tagging Australian wildfire, and finding blocked roads and damaged buildings in a Sri Lankan flood.



Fold.It is a computer game that is more than a game - as you play, you help scientists learn about how proteins fold into different shapes. Proteins are in all living things, and understanding how they fold will help in understanding various diseases and other biological processes. The scientists are collecting data to see whether humans may be more adept than current computer programs at certain types of pattern recognition and puzzle solving that are necessary in understanding protein folding.


Be A Martian  

Help NASA sort through the huge amount of data they have received from the Mars Rover by tagging photos.


13 Things for History Lovers To Do Online When They're Bored!

Check out some of these fascinating archives - and, if you are so inclined, lend a hand by volunteering to transcribe some of the papers so they can be made available to the broader public. Each of these sites is a treasure trove of historical materials (ranging from cookbooks and personal papers to Holocaust-related documents). The materials have been scanned, so they can be viewed online - but the sites are asking for volunteers who will transcribe the text from the scanned images, so they will be searchable by names and keywords. 



OLLI e-Reviews
What are your favorite apps?


(Submitted by Mary Mortland, Connie Hosier, Louise Audrieth, Charlie Smyth, Cheri Sullivan, Elizabeth (Felts) Olmsted, Bev Herzog, Jane Walsh, Rosalee Otto, Pam Olson, Jane Walsh)

  • RideCU - track CU-MTD buses and find nearby bus stops. Real-time bus locations and routes, with customizable bus departure alarms.
  • BrightBus - find nearby bus stops and when CU buses will be arriving.
  • GasBuddy - find the cheapest gas prices when you travel. Uses community input to help you find gas stations and their current prices.
  • Waze - be current on road/traffic conditions where you are located. It shares information from other Waze users who are traveling in nearby areas. 
  • Google Maps/Google Earth - maps for every place you go.
  • Citymapper - for Chicago, NY, SF, DC, and Boston: award-winning app that helps you plan your route using local transportation - it can even alert you when to get off the bus.
  • Yelp - consumer ratings for businesses, including restaurants, wherever you are.
  • SiteGeist - draws on census data and information from apps like Yelp to present data about your surroundings or other locations (age distributions, average rent, popular local spots, etc.).
  • Findery - helps locate tourist spots anywhere you are.
  • TripAdvisor - reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, travel activities, etc.
  • TripCase - organizes all of your flights, hotels, and other reservations in one place. You can add events, such as concerts, so you have reminders. It's really good at alerting you to changes in flights, even faster than the airlines do, including gate changes and baggage claim information. 
  • FlightBoard - shows the arrival and departure boards for every airport in the world.
  • iTranslate - translates 80+ languages with text-to-speech capabilities.

(Submitted by Connie Hosier, Joe Thompson, Pat Marlow)

  • Viber - allows for free long distance calling if the other person also has the app (I used it in Haiti).
  • Facetime - allows you to see the person you're talking to during a phone call.
  • Messaging - allows texting by voice as well as by keyboard.
  • Voxer - push a button to talk to an individual or group. Can send text or share photos, too.
  • Facebook -  social media app that lets you connect with your friends.

(Submitted by Louise Audrieth, Elizabeth (Felts) Olmsted, Rosalee Otto, Robert O'Daniell, Cheri Sullivan)

  • CPL Mobile - access to Champaign Public Library.
  • OverDrive - access to public library e-books and audiobooks.
  • iBooks - download and read e-books.
  • Kindle - app for reading Kindle e-books on a smartphone or other device.
  • My Book List - scan ISBN barcodes to keep track of your books or as a quick way to add books to your reading list.
  • Goodreads - easy way to keep track of your books, find reviews, scan barcodes to add books, share reading lists with friends. Always have your book list with you when you enter a bookstore!

(Submitted by Connie Hosier, Charlie Smyth, Pam Olson, Judith Liebman, Toni Pitts)

  • Weight Watchers - food tracking and recipes.
  • Find Me Coffee - find a cup of coffee anywhere in the world!
  • Open Table - make reservations at restaurants.
  • Runkeeper - keep track of how far and how fast you walk and the routes you take, with distances.
  • My Fitness Pal - track aerobic exercise, strength exercise, calorie intake, and protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber, vitamins, etc.
  • Argus - a pedometer with GPS, so you can use your phone to track walking and running steps as well as cycling.



(Submitted by Connie Hosier, Louise Audrieth, Charlie Smyth, Pam Olson, Kathie Spegal, Armine Kotin Mortimer, Tony Welsh, John Moore, Eve Harwood, Robert Selby, Robert O'Daniell, Carl Jockusch)

  • Spotify - create your own music lists.
  • SoundHound - identifies any music playing around you, and can add it to your Spotify playlist if you wish.
  • Shazam - to identify music and media playing around you.
  • Doubletwist - music player.
  • TuneIn Radio - over 100,000 real radio stations from around the world, and 4 million podcasts and programs. One station is BBC radio 4E that has radio dramas, quiz shows, documentaries, as well as a Canadian program called Just a Minute, an entertaining game show with verbal play and wit that has lasted over 5 decades. You can also tune into Champaign radio programming anywhere in the world that has wifi. The paid version lets you record programming.
  • iBlink Radio - access to global radio stations, podcasts and local and national reading services for the blind or visually impaired.
  • WILL Radio - listen to, rewind, and pause current content; on-demand content; and WILL radio schedule.
  • PBS - for program streaming. Has many archived shows.
  • Netflix - subscribers can watch Netflix streaming on their devices.
  • Flixster - find out what movies are newly released in theaters and DVD, plus read reviews with a link to Netflix lists where you can add movies to your queue from the phone.
  • Hoopla - access to movies, TV shows, and audio books via CPL.
  • Quiz Up - quiz games with a timer against an unknown competitor among various categories.
  • Big Patience (Lena Games) - tons of solitaire card games.
  • Clickomania - time waster marble game.
  • BigJig - for computer, a free jigsaw puzzle program with a new free puzzle every week.
  • RefDesk - for computer, word games and crossword puzzles.
  • Bubble Wars - game.
  • Sudoku - excellent interface and many levels of game, with a new puzzle every day.
  • Farm Hero Saga - game.
  • Words with Friends - Game, similar to Scrabble, that you play with friends and family. You can also be matched with an unknown player. You can keep several games going at once and send chat messages to the people you are playing with.

(Submitted by Connie Hosier, Charlie Smyth, Elizabeth (Felts) Olmsted, Joyce Eisold, Jane Walsh)

  • Weather Underground -  local radar, daily weather, and forecasts.
  • Accuweather - forecasts and weather alerts.
  • Raindar - local weather radar.
  • MyCast - weather info including radar.
  • Owl Weather - weather information with a new photo of a cute owl every time you open the app.
  • Weatherbug - uses real-time weather data. Gives weather alerts, including lightning strikes in your area.

(Submitted by Jane Walsh, Frank Chadwick, Pam Olson, Elizabeth (Felts) Olmsted, Pat Marlow)

  • Pic Stitch - combines photos into one picture.
  • Photo Transfer - helps send and receive photos among various devices.
  • Pic Collage - photos, stickers, frames and text to make collages.
  • Instagram - post photos for friends to see, or make your settings more public. Photos can be edited with special effects before posting.
  • Shutterfly - upload phone photos to Shutterfly, then share or create and order prints or gifts.
  • GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) - free software for photo retouching and image composition, similar to Adobe Photoshop.

(Submitted by Connie Hosier, Elizabeth (Felts) Olmsted, Sandy Hall, Pat Porter)

  • Ebay - buy, sell, or watch what's available.
  • ShopStyle - fashion search engine to help locate where to purchase the type of item you request.
  • ShopList - you can create all sorts of shopping lists and add to it every time you think of something you need. You always have your list with you when you shop! You can create multiple lists, too.
  • OurGroceries - keeps your grocery list in order and your shopping on track; can organize grocery lists according to specific recipes.

(Submitted by Charlie Smyth, Pam Olson, Joe Thompson, Barbara Meyer)

  • Evernote - keep your projects together and organized; sync them across all devices.
  • ASTRO Cloud & File Manager - organize, view and retrieve all your pictures, music, video and documents, regardless of where (cloud or device) they are stored.
  • Splashtop - access all your apps and data remotely, using any computer or device.
  • OK Google - use your voice to give a search request.

(Submitted by Louise Audrieth, Charlie Smyth, Kathie Spegal, Mary Severinghaus, Joyce Eisold, Michael Lyon, John Moore, Carl Jockusch, Pat Marlow, Rosalee Otto, Robert O'Daniell, Chris Catanzarite)

  • Star Chart - point your device at the night sky and find out what you're looking at.
  • SkyView - augmented reality space exploration. Point the device and it will show position of planets, constellations, and satellites, including the Space Station and Hubble telescope. Tap on an item to learn more about it.
  • LightTrak - shows angle of the sun or moon, any time - day or night. Useful for photographers, gardeners, solar panel owners, and geeks.
  • Sci GraphCalc - free scientific graphing calculator with many extra features, such as math reference materials, unit conversions, currency conversions, and days between dates.
  • ConvertPad - calculator and unit converter, including currency conversion.
  • Audubon Guides - app with field guides to birds, mammals, wildflowers and trees.
  • White Noise - continuous play of your choice of many sounds for relaxing or sleeping.
  • Flashlight - good to use when you don't want to wake a sleeping partner.
  • Scoreboard - keep score at all sporting events and games.
  • Duolingo - free, interactive app to help you learn a language (Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Irish, Dutch, Swedish and many more). You can even compete with friends if you wish.
  • Meditation Timer - lets you focus on the meditation and not worry about the time.
  • Notes Plus - lets you take notes by writing with your finger or a stylus.
  • Yahoo Finance - gives daily quotes on the S&P500, DJIA, and your selected stocks. Can also provide short or long term value curves and the numerical value for the day.
  • 23 A Go-Go - mobile app that allows you to contribute to research, access your health results and explore new genetic discoveries at 23andMe.
  • IHandy Level - one of 5 tools in the IHandy Toolkit. It allows your phone to function as a level.
  • Art Institute of Chicago - floor plan, overviews, and in-depth multimedia presentations.

Member Photos

OLLI members share their photographic perspectives on architectural design.  


See more member photos in our OLLI album on Facebook.

Gorgeous Find, Windy City 

Rhonda Fallon,  September 2014

Chicago Cultural Center - Old Chicago Public Library 1897


Thank you - STUDY GROUP FACILITATORS - Late Fall 2014

About Us 

OLLI at Illinois is a member-focused community of adult learners that is supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Illinois Office of the Provost, and the generous donations of OLLI members and community partners. It is part of a network of 119 OLLI programs across the United States, and more than 130,000 members nationwide.   


OLLI at Illinois was launched in the fall of 2007 with 11 courses and 297 members. News of this exciting program dedicated to the pursuit of lifelong learning spread quickly, and we now have more than 1,1200 members and offer approximately 40 courses per semester. 


In addition to classes in the fall and spring semesters, OLLI offers a dynamic schedule of programs and activities that includes lectures, study groups, travel opportunities, and collaborations with the Illinois campus and the communities in and around Champaign-Urbana.


OLLI Staff

Christine Catanzarite, Director

Janet Summers, Outreach Coordinator

Kate Freeman, Office Manager


Olli Logo

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois
217-244-9141 - web: - email: