Letter from the Director


Dear Friends,


This is the last letter I will write from my desk in the Atkins Building, where I have spent the past three and a half years. By the time our first summer study groups begin meeting on July 14, OLLI will be settled in our new location in the M2 building in downtown Champaign. I am surrounded by boxes and many wonderful memories - and I'm feeling both nostalgic and immensely excited about OLLI's future as we are on the verge of a new adventure.


As membership numbers and participation levels have increased over time, we recognized that we needed additional space to accommodate our growing program and our robust strategic plan. The end of our lease in the Research Park led to a carefully considered process of seeking appropriate space, and we are thrilled that we identified a space that provides expanded square footage, an accessible location in downtown Champaign, and a congenial home for our courses, study groups, and other programs. Our new facilities will enable us to meet both the intellectual and physical needs of our members while providing high-quality educational and engagement programs for adults in the Champaign-Urbana area who are over the age of 50.


Details and updates about our move to M2 have been compiled on the OLLI website - just follow the link in the upper left corner of our homepage at http://olli.illinois.edu/.

We are eager to settle in to our new home at M2 - and the move will be truly complete when the space is filled with the thing that makes OLLI so special: our members and the many voices and insights that you bring to everything we do! Looking forward to seeing you there, and writing this next chapter in our story.


Best wishes,



What does "M2" Mean?

Some of you might be wondering about the origin of the building's name. It is one of the flagship properties of One Main Development. The first building to be constructed in downtown Champaign, One Main, is directly across Neil Street - and it also houses restaurants, commercial spaces, and residential properties. OLLI's new home is in the second building to be constructed, hence the M2 name!

In This Issue
Photo credits:  Banner photo "Sunflowers" by Linda Coleman. Member photo "A Brief Visitor" by Teresa DeWitt.

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

The OLLI office will be closed for relocation from Thursday, June 25 through Friday, July 10.

June 25 through July 3 - office closed; also, no phone or email.

July 6 through July 10 - office closed; limited phone and email access (please reserve all non-emergency concerns until after the move has been completed).

Tuesday, July 14 - Study Group summer session begins at M2; regular office hours resume (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday)

On the Road with OLLI - Two Spring Day Trips


The Indianapolis Museum of Art is home to the first Robert Indiana "Love" sculpture.

OLLI members explored the remarkable collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art in a bus trip on April 23 that included a guided tour of the exhibit "Tiffany, Gorham, and the Height of American Silver, 1840-1930" in the Lilly House on the museum's grounds. Among the pieces that caught our attention were turtle-shaped soup tureens (for serving turtle soup, naturally!) and elaborate platters for serving ice cream - a rare treat in the days before home refrigeration was standard. The day ended with a meal at Shapiro's Deli with old and new friends!




Chicago Trip


More than 50 OLLI members - along with Janet and Kate - spent May 28 viewing the world-famous Chicago skyline while learning about the history and growth of the city, including its parks, waterfront, and neighborhoods, from a representative of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Chicago includes so many architectural wonders, and this  series of photos by member Tom Rozanski captured some of the highlights of the day.  This trip built on the conversation about Chicago architecture started earlier in the year by the OLLI-NEH Working Group's screening of the documentary film "Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City." And, of course, no trip to Chicago would be complete without some deep-dish pizza - so this trip ended with a delicious meal at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria. All of this left us wanting more. . .of Chicago!
 The Buzz - OLLI Lectures


Dozens of lunchtime lectures are organized throughout the year, and they are free to all OLLI members; members are also encouraged to bring a non-member guest. Speakers include U of I faculty, community members, and scholars and artists from around the country and around the world. These lectures have always been a rich opportunity to discover new subjects in a one-time educational experience - and these are just a few of the many subjects that have taken place during the first half of 2015.


Almost 100 OLLI members attended the lecture "Perspectives on the Aging Brain" presented by Monica Fabiani of the Beckman Institute Cognitive Neuroscience Group.  They heard about interventions that may stave off or even reverse the effects of aging...the most effective seems to be exercise!

Elaine K. Olson, M.A. M.Div., gave an OLLI lecture on "Spiritual Wellness for Seniors" as part of the series on "The Dimensions of Wellness and Aging."  This lecture was recommended by Leanza Pulido, a kinesiology undergraduate, as part of her fall 2014 student internship at OLLI.  The lecture focused on finding wisdom and peace in the midst of conflict and grief and was very well received by the participants.

James Dobbins, a viral disease epidemiologist who will be teaching his first OLLI course in the fall semester, gave a fascinating lecture on making sense of the Ebola outbreak, which was in the daily headlines at the time of this lecture.  His talk was very informative and answered many questions, such as why the virus wasn't detected earlier, why it included so many victims, and why it lasted so long.  

Members of the study group devoted to genetically modified organisms presented a panel discussion that summarized and expanded on the conversations they had throughout the late-fall session. The panel featured presentations by group members Claudia Reich, Jean Paley, Gayle Goold, Bob Segebart, Carolyn Trimble, and Mary Severinghaus; and it was moderated by Linda Coleman. In addition to engaging with the complex and wide-reaching ramifications of GMOs, the panel established an exciting template for future study groups to share their findings with the broader OLLI community.

Websites for OLLI-ites : The Best Web Sites for Movie Fans

Movie Review Query Engine: Name the movie, get a list of articles plus other film info from various international sources . 

Turner Classic Movies: Enter the movie's title and you'll find it to be a good resource for information, history, trivia, and cross referencing. 

First Showing: Offers a complete list of movie release dates, news from various sources, and an archive of reviews and interviews.  

Internet Movie Database: It has extensive information for its 57 million monthly users. Look up film release dates, watch trailers, and read movie news. Or you can search for films and learn about the cast and crew, nominations and awards, trivia, etc.

Upcomingmovies.com:  Exactly like what it says, you can find out what's soon to be released in theaters across the U.S.

 Moviemistakes.com: The site is chock full of the worst movie goofs in recent history. For example, there are 66 mistakes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There's also a list of the "best" movie mistakes, the most mistakes of the year, movie trivia, and best movie quotes.

Flixster.com: The social networking site is a vast online database of over a billion user-generated movie ratings. To rate a movie, simply click on the Rate Now button next to that particular film. Amuse yourself with the quiz questions, polls, actor bios, photos, movie trailers, and more. Create lists of movies to share with friends.

Cinematical - the Moviephone BlogJam-packed with interviews, reviews, news, photo galleries, movie clips, and more.

Getting to Know You
OLLI members share their favorite foods from childhood


Frito Pie
Steve Bauer

Frito pie. My dad sold Fritos and Lays Potato Chips and my mom came up with some yummy dishes.


Andrea Beller

Lemon meringue pie.


Cheryl Binch

As a young girl in Bermuda, I spent my days with my granny. I was a very picky eater, but she could always win me over with a bologna sandwich with tomato and mayo. Still one of my favorites!


Cathrine Blom

Salmon, cucumber salad and strawberries.


Sam Bostaph

My favorite childhood food was barbequed steak. My father would marinate a large 2-inch thick steak for a day or so and then barbeque it Sunday afternoon in his oil barrel smoker. With barbeque beans and roasted cob corn, it made for a real treat.


Judith Braunfeld

My favorite food from childhood was cream of wheat with the 'top of the milk' on it.


Viennese Cucumber Salad 

Peter Braunfeld

My favorite food was Viennese cucumber salad ("Gurkensalat"). As a 6 year old, I often broke out in a skin rash, and it was determined that Gurkensalat was the culprit. The doctor put it on the forbidden food list. I was heartbroken. On some days, I was able to determine that a bowl of Gurkensalat was in the refrigerator. On several occasions, I would sneak out of my room at night, go to the fridge, and grab a handful, and eat it. I suspect my parents knew what was happening, but they never let on. 


Kathy Brinkmann

From childhood, my favorite food was/is toast with peanut butter and a banana smashed on top.


Judy Brown

Grits and eggs with grandparents; mom's chicken and dumplings.


Rabel Burdge

I hated beets and we ate a lot of them as it was at the end of the depression and being on a farm, we had big gardens.


Frank Chadwick

Spaghetti and chili. My mom was never much of an Italian cook, but Hormel chili right out of the can over spaghetti, with parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top and garlic bread on the side was one of my favorite wintertime foods as a kid, and it's still an occasional nostalgic comfort-food treat.


Yoline Chandler

My mother was well-known for her cooking, and one of my very favorites was Chinese stewed pork. The cut was the same as for ham, but fresh (not cured), and included the fat and skin. Seasoned with soy sauce, sherry, garlic, ginger, and a bit of sugar, it simmered for a long time as it absorbed the flavorings. My favorite part was the skin and - yes - the layer of fat under it! Totally unhealthy by today's standards, but absolutely delicious!


Beth Chato

I'm not sure, but rice pudding came to mind.


Priscilla Christians

My mother's homemade lemonade--made from REAL lemons! Her rhubarb pie was also a winner! Your question initiated lots of nostalgia.


Marsha Clinard

Homemade mac and cheese...always with ketchup. Still love it today!


Isabel Cole

Probably popsicles that I ate with my brother and two sisters. In those days they came as a double and you had to break them apart and share. My favorite flavor was lemon lime, and still is. 


Craig Cutbirth

Since I was born and raised in the heartland, Iowa to be specific, my childhood was what you would expect, thoroughly Midwestern! My favorite childhood meal was Sunday dinner, which was almost always fried chicken. I've never lost my taste for it and it's still one of my favorite foods. But, interestingly, it's been years since I made any at home. When I crave chicken, I typically buy it in the deli at the grocery store.


Millie Davis

I was a baloney sandwich addict as a young kid.


Don Dayton

Grandma Wagner's fried chicken.


Jaafar Dhahir

My favorite food is fried egg.


Tom Neufer Emswiler

My favorite food from childhood was corn on the cob FRESH from the field. Garrison Keillor describes this delight best: "Sweet corn: the best thing in life. I grew up in a house about a hundred feet from a cornfield, and every evening we'd put the water on to boil, then pick the corn and husk it as we walked rapidly toward the house and chuck it in and dish up the chicken and say a prayer and out came the corn, on went the butter and salt, eight minutes flat from stalk to mouth, and when you ate sweet corn, life had nothing better to offer. You'd been to the top. That's how it'll be in heaven, I'm sure. Oh we thank you dear Lord for this good, good life/ And thanks for the day we were born/ And the gifts you have given, especially these heavenly/ Sweet sweet corn."


Tom Galer-Unti

My favorite cooked food as a kid was fried okra. My mother grew up in Oklahoma and was served okra. She grew it in our garden in southeast Iowa so she could make it for us. I was kid #3 of 6 and we would fight over the okra when my mother made it. She cut the pods in thick coins, shook 'em in cornmeal and fried them in a skillet. Yum! I learned later that it was an unusual dish for Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I make it for my wife and daughter. They love it!


 Norwegian Fiskeboller (Fish Balls)

Inger-Johanne Fjeld Gire

I think you truly have to be Norwegian to appreciate this, because my favorite, fiske boler med rekke saus, does not translate well into English: fish balls with shrimp sauce, anyone? It is, regardless, absolutely delicious! Basically it's minced fish (cod?) made into egg-shaped patties and simmered, then sliced or diced. Served with a cream sauce -- to which small shrimp are added -- it's served with potatoes and carrots or in pastry shells. It's basically an all-white meal, of which Norway has several. Lutefisk, probably the most well-known, is really pretty disgusting...kind of a fish Jello. Fiske boler was my most requested meal whenever I visited my mother. Luckily my husband wasn't fond of fish...so that meant more for me! Yum!


Robin Goettel

Absolutely Mamma Susi's cheese pizza with Tater Tots (every Saturday night!).


How to Make the PERFECT Lumpy Cream of Wheat

Anne Heiles

It's painful to admit! My grandmother was a terrible cook (she employed a cook to make suppers), and only made me Cream of Wheat, replete with lumps from her not following the directions. But I loved lumpy Cream of Wheat. And I liked pouring milk over graham crackers for an after-school snack.


Naomi Jakobsson

Ice cream was my favorite.


John Jordan

Sweet corn and ham.


Pat Jordan

My mom's homemade mac and cheese, rhubarb pie and blackberry pie.


Bishop's Bread

Barbara Kendrick

There are many favorite foods from childhood--my mother was a very good cook. But top of the list would be her lemon meringue pie. Then perhaps her coffee cake called Bishop's Bread.


Mary Caroll King

My favorite dessert is root beer floats. I also like mashed potatoes.


Noodle Pudding (lukshen kugel)

Eileen Kohen

I asked some friends and family at dinner the other night, and surprisingly "frozen TV dinners" was mentioned by more than one person! It's hard to choose for me, since my mother was a good cook/baker. I'd say lukshen kugel (noodle pudding).


Curtis Krock

Corn meal mush, covered with maple syrup -- a Southern dish, which we had on Sunday breakfast or holidays only -- so it was a special event and always a family breakfast with everyone together.


Carol Kubitz

My mother made delicious cinnamon rolls -- sometimes sticky with butter and brown sugar and sometimes just cinnamon and sugar rolled into a spiral in each roll. Years later I made them for my daughter's second birthday and she ate six -- so the love continues in the family. 


Maria Cesaria Lancaster

My mother's homemade pasta, orecchiette, noodles, or cavatelli.


Sandy Leister

Both my parents and all my grandparents were from Missouri, so although we were not really below the Mason-Dixon Line we had a lot of southern cooking growing up. My favorite memory is of sliced apples cooked with sugar and also corn meal mush, both always fried crisp in an iron skillet.


Larry Mayes

Old Fashioned Tuna Potato Chip Casserole 

Mine is hamburger and fries.


Don Meier

Strawberry pie!


Sharon Michalove

Tuna casserole with potato chips.


Elizabeth Miley

Lamb chops and raw peas.


Robert Morris

Without ambiguity as to preference, surely THE BEST was Mrs. Reilly's Winter Skillet, a succulent mess fried together of hamburger, onions and sliced potatoes. (Mrs. Reilly was married to our childhood pediatrician.)


Ellen Oconnell

Spaghetti and meatballs!


Pam Olson

Coming from the east coast, I would say all Cos Cob Seafood, Carol Ann Bakery's 7 layer mocha cake covered in fudge, coffee egg creams, Steinberg's Restaurant, 2nd Ave. Deli, Katz's Deli, Rappaport's, Cakemaster Bakery, Sardi's, Horn and Hardart, Good Humor Ice Cream and Mama Leoni. I think they are self explanatory. Yummy! Some of these are vintage places.


Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie

Don Pilcher

Growing up in southern California meant no family home was far from a lemon tree; there may have been several in your own yard. My mother's recipe for lemon meringue pie was probably from the Joy of Cooking, but the goodness was from the combination of fresh lemons and real, old time, fat in the can, Crisco crust. Those pies were deeper in flavor than what one normally finds today, due to a little extra fresh juice AND plenty of grated rind in the filling. As a kid, the accompanying beverage was unsweetened ice tea. Years later a new lemon came to market, the Meyer lemon. Mom had one of those as well and for years I brought several dozen lemons back to Illinois in January from my visits home. Meyer lemons are too good to believe; you can't describe them, you have to try them.


Jo Pride

Peanut butter and (Mom's) grape jelly sandwich. Still enjoy it.


Judy Reynolds

As a child, I loved anything sweet (I still do). My mom used to hide the sweets so she could serve them to company later. One time she hid 'rum balls,' a no-bake cookie that has a quarter cup of rum for 12 dozen cookies. Then she forgot all about them. My brother and sister and I found them in one of our 'no parents are home, so let's look for sweets' raids. They tasted REALLY good! Not enough rum to even get a buzz, but the taste had become much stronger.


Barak Rosenshine

The family got together every Sunday night for lox, cream cheese and bagels.


Edward Roy

Homemade applesauce.


Carol Schaeffer

Meatballs and spaghetti.


Pat Schutt

My mother made the most fantastic veal stew that she served over rice, and as a 3 year old I called it "rice on stew." It was a paprikash dish with paprika and sour cream. Thanks for the question that conjured up this wonderful, memorable dish!


Delora Siebrecht

My favorite food growing up was my mother's fried chicken. She cut the breast into four pieces so there was a piece call the "wishbone." My cousin and I always tried to beat each other to this piece because it was special. When the bone was bare we both pulled on the end pieces of the bone and when it broke the person with the longer piece got their wish. Mom also had a special way of frying the chicken. When we had family potlucks her chicken was gone first.


Birute Simaitis

Vanilla ice cream. My first taste was on a Liberty Transport ship emigrating to the U.S. It is still my favorite dessert.


Myrna Smith

Ice cream out of a hand-turned ice cream tub by family members at our gatherings; any kind was delicious!



Jerry Soesbe

Lefse, a potato-based flatbread. The part of Iowa where I grew up had a Scandinavian population that influenced much of what we ate. Mom stored the lefse bread between damp towels and my brother and I ate it as snack food. We would smear one side with butter, sprinkle sugar over the top, roll and eat. 


Kathie Spegal

A dish my mother called Alsatian Pork Chops, which I would ask for on my birthday. Pork chops smothered in rice with a topping of canned tomatoes (from the garden) and onions, baked and delicious.


Edie Stotler

Grandma's fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, Mom's homemade vegetable beef soup, and waffles.


Blanche Sudman

Broiled lamb chops.


Cheri Sullivan

Tacos! This was before the days of Taco Bell, but my parents were from southern California and the southwest, so they always purchased the ingredients from the military commissary wherever my dad was stationed. My mother had a special segmented dish for all the fixings, and we filled the tacos ourselves. One night my two oldest siblings had some local friends over for a party and served tacos. Only one guest was brave enough to try such an odd food (he pronounced it "interesting"), so I helped with the leftovers by eating eleven tacos!


Denise Taylor

A free slice of "skinny ham," or pancetta, from Tino, the neighborhood butcher, who'd sometimes throw in a hunk of parmigiano while I waited for Nonna to finish her shopping. The best place to be on a hot Cincinnati day--we'd take refuge in the walk-in freezer. I got Jimmy Durante's autograph on a napkin there. I remember him as being a real jerk.


Susan Taylor

My daddy would fry the crappie we caught in Reelfoot Lake, TN. None of us could eat only one. Later in 6th grade, I discovered beans and that became my favorite food, even today.


Joy Thornton-Walter

Knetchen. Knejchen? I wonder whether there's any Hungarian Slovak left who knows how to spell it, or what it is! My grandmother and maiden aunt made a family feast of this, and every grandchild/aunt/uncle/cousin gathered in Cleveland to share. It was the local specialty of the now-defunct town where my dad was born in 1895. Based on fingerling potato dumplings, it became a series of dishes: cheese knetchen, cottage cheese knetchen, onion knetchen, sauerkraut knetchen, knetchen soup, and more. It's a nutritionist's nightmare: lots of bacon and bacon fat AND butter AND sour cream. We moved away from Cleveland when I was 5, but I begged for it-and was rewarded-every time we returned for family visits.


Carolyn Trimble

Fresh corn on the cob from my aunt's farm.


Ralph Trimble

Meat loaf.


Sandy Updike

My mother's fried chicken with mashed potatoes and milk gravy--heaven on earth!


Ted Vaughan

Peanut butter sandwich with mayonnaise.


Diane Wardrop

My mother's "boiled dinner." I ate the potatoes swimming in the broth; didn't touch the meat or cabbage.


Jean Weigel

Popcorn and sliced apples. Actually, this was our whole meal every Sunday night with the family together around the radio listening to Jack Benny and Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy.



OLLI members share their photographic perspectives on gardens.  

Photo by Teresa DeWitt - "A Brief Visitor"
Many thanks to our Spring 2015 Study Group Facilitators!

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 1,200 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


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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois
217-244-9141 - web: olli.illinois.edu - email: OLLI@illinois.edu