In This Issue of the OLLI Illinois e-News
Letter from the Director
Visiting the old neighborhood during the holidays!
Dear OLLI Friends,
Happy New Year, and welcome to the spring semester! 

Last week marked the 4-year anniversary of my first day on the job at OLLI - and my first day in the office was also the beginning of the spring courses. The excitement of a new semester was infectious, and I was delighted to see so many people renewing old friendships and charging headlong into new adventures. Since then, the energy of the first day of a new session has lost none of its power to amaze me - or to sweep me up in the excitement!
Like many of you, I have been following the news of the state budget closely during the past year. While there is no definitive news yet, it is clear that all of us at the University of Illinois will experience some cutbacks in our budget. OLLI's budget comes from multiple resources - the University, membership and enrollment fees, income from the Osher Endowment, and the generous gifts from our members and friends. 

I am pleased to report that our non-university funding (that is, our fees, endowment income, and donations) will not be affected in any way by state allocations - OLLI remains a vibrant and healthy organization, and our facilities, programming, and staff will continue to provide the exceptional OLLI experience that you expect.
But the state budget cuts will affect our general operating budget going forward - although we do not yet know precisely what the outcome of the state deliberations will be. In anticipation of this, the Board and I, in conjunction with the relevant OLLI committees, have begun investigating a combination of modest fee increases, targeted fundraising campaigns, and strategic planning to keep OLLI sustainable and successful in the years ahead. These conversations are aimed at increasing our revenues, streamlining our expenses, and in all ways minimizing the impact of the projected cuts to state funding. I want to stress that no decisions have been made at this stage, but we are reviewing all options as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances.
We will continue to watch this situation closely and develop a responsible plan regarding the projected cutbacks. I will continue to share information with you as news becomes available - and, as ever, the greatest priority is guaranteeing that OLLI will continue to offer high-quality, accessible lifelong learning experiences to our community of learners.
And that brings us back to the start of the spring semester - a time when the days get a little longer, and new ideas take root and blossom in our classrooms. It's great to have you back at OLLI as we get underway. Wishing you a wonderful new semester!
All the best,
Thank You, OLLI Volunteers!
We would like to extend a heartfelt and sincere "thank you" to all who volunteer their time and talents at OLLI - as study group facilitators and class hosts, office assistants and tour guides, Board and committee members.
We usually recognize our volunteers with a "word cloud" of their names, but listing everyone who has stepped into a volunteer leadership role in these past few months would be a huge cloud in a very big sky. So please accept this grateful recognition of all who've contributed to this wonderful and generous community!
Weather-Related Cancellations at OLLI

In the event of inclement conditions that require us to cancel activities, we will make announcements through the following outlets:
  • OLLI Facebook page - if you don't already "like" us on Facebook, you can find us here (and you don't have to "like" us to see our posts)
  • WILL-TV and Radio
In nearly all cases, we will also contact members by email. But we urge you to check the outlets listed above for the most reliable and up-to-date information. 

And in all situations, we urge you to consider your safety first when conditions are bad. After all, we don't take attendance at OLLI!
Quick Links

Interested in learning how to facilitate a study group?  

A panel of Study Group Committee members and experienced facilitators will share their experiences and answer questions on Friday, February 5, 2016 at OLL from 12 - 1 p.m..  

RSVP to Janet Summers,  before February 2nd.

Giving To OLLI at Illinois
We are all formed and enriched by our educational opportunities - and OLLI at Illinois is your alma mater, a part of your lifelong journey. One of our greatest priorities - and proudest accomplishments - is our robust development program that has helped us to build a stronger foundation for OLLI's future. The generous gifts given by our members and friends enable us to fulfill our mission, and we are grateful for each and every gift we receive.
A list of our wonderful donors can be found here.
We invite you to make a donation to OLLI today, and invest in our sustainability for the years to come. Your tax-deductible gift will be used to enrich the experiences of our OLLI members in the new year and beyond; your gift can even honor or memorialize a current or past member of the OLLI community who has made an impact on your life.
To make a gift to OLLI on the Foundation's secure site, visit In the field marked "designate other gift options," identify OLLI as your recipient and enter the amount of your gift - then follow the link marked "continue" to finalize your donation. Thank you!

OLLI Update
It has been just over six months since the moving trucks pulled away from the M2 building and OLLI began offering the very first study groups in our new downtown Champaign location. The half-year since then has been both a continuation of OLLI's mission and the start of an exciting new chapter in our story! Here are some snapshots of our first half-year at M2:
  • Our membership numbers are now slightly higher than they were last year at this time (our highest membership numbers ever) - and new members are continuing to join (and, in quite a few cases, past members are re-joining) as the spring courses get underway.
  • We offered record-high numbers of courses and study groups in the fall sessions, with robust participation levels and exceptional evaluations.
  • More members have generously filled volunteer roles than ever before, from facilitating study groups and serving on committees to assisting at member events.
  • In response to our fundraising efforts, we have both more donors overall and more first-time donors than we have had in past years.
  • We continue to explore new partnerships on campus and in the community, and to nurture our ongoing collaborations.
  • Our larger, upgraded facilities offer greater opportunities for programming - and our classrooms offer increased accommodations for members by way of our Assistive Listening System, larger screens, better sounds systems, and other amenities that enhance the OLLI experience.

How are OLLI Courses Selected?

Virtually all of our members have taken an OLLI course (or two, or three!) since joining us - but not everyone is aware of how those courses and instructors are selected. Did you know that our Curriculum Committee is made up of OLLI members who dedicate their considerable time and skill to reviewing and refining proposals to create the course lineups that we offer?

Proposals are reviewed twice during the year: in the late winter for the coming fall semester, and in the fall for the spring semester. Even though our spring courses are just getting underway, the committee is just about to undertake the review of proposals for the courses that you will take in the fall!
Some of our proposals come to us from instructors who have taught at OLLI in the past and have been greatly impressed by the challenging, interactive experiences they have found in the classroom. Other proposals are submitted by current and retired U of I instructors (as well as those from Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Parkland College, and other colleges in central Illinois) who have heard great things about OLLI from their colleagues. And, in still other cases, we learn about instructors with strengths in exciting new areas and we invite them to propose a course for consideration.
We are grateful to the Curriculum Committee for crafting a lineup of courses that represents a diverse mix of subject areas, new and returning instructors, and enriching experiences for our members!The Curriculum Committee also considers the feedback that you, as members, provide. The course evaluations that you fill out at the end of each semester are reviewed and often lead us to ask an instructor to repeat an especially well-received course - or to teach a new subject in their area of expertise. We also look at the interest you express in courses, by informal feedback and by signing up for waitlists. That's right, waitlists are valuable to us in gauging interest; so please add your name to the list even if you don't end up getting into a course, because we might offer the course again in a future semester if there is sufficient interest.

What are people saying about spring classes during the first week?

Here are just a few first-day comments from members:

"What a class and what a professor!!!!! I haven't been this excited about a course since my first English History course in college. If I had known science was this exciting, who knows where I would have ended up."
(Emergence of Life, Professor Bruce Fouke)

"This Italian Renaissance class is awesome. Can see myself wanting to spent a lot more time in museums than my fellow travelers."
(Art and Culture in the Italian Renaissance Court, Instructor Rosemary Trippe)

"The guy in front of me, when he found out that I was here for the first time, turned and said, 'You have just hit the mother lode!'"
(From a new member attending her first OLLI course)

"No homework, but curiosity takes over and you're off and running!"

Websites for OLLI-ites
- Tips for Trips
If you plan on going somewhere, from the nearest state park to an overseas adventure, be sure you're well prepared for the trip and get the best deals possible. Here are some websites that can help.
This site covers everything from road trips in the USA to charging your electronic devices abroad. Much of the information on the site is useful to any traveler, but there are many tips especially for seniors - such as reduced rates for retirees, senior cruises, what to do if stranded abroad, and traveling with a walker, wheelchair or cane. The site provides up-to-date travel info on such concerns as the Zika virus.
This website provides a good list of many "Best Senior Travel Websites."
Information on the best times to travel, dealing with health issues, insurance, packing, and more.
General trips, plus itineraries for major US cities and tips for traveling with grandchildren.
The government offers a $10 lifetime pass (plus $10 processing fee) that provides access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies for those 65 and over.
Offers info on various aspects of travel, including senior cruises and motorcoach tours, group travel, packing, insurance, and more.
Travel safety tips - everything from making sure your home is safe while you're away to how to dress comfortably when traveling and not attract purse snatchers. Many links; a free travel newsletter is available if you wish to subscribe.
Focuses on independent travel. Info on heritage sites, driving in Europe, money issues, hotel deals, and much more.
Offers this great advice: "Always ask if there is a discount available for a senior as there are many unadvertised discounts that you can only find out about by asking."

Getting to Know You
What is Your Favorite Game?
(question submitted by OLLI member Chris Whippo)

Clare Barkley.
My favorite game is Scrabble.

Andrea Beller.

Channing Brown. Scrabble. (By the way, for anyone interested, we have a local Scrabble club that meets weekly at the Barnes & Noble store in Champaign.)

Carol DeVoss.
I like Scrabble the most, but I like most board games. I like cards too, but am not so good at them.

Maxine Kaler.
My favorite game to watch is Jeopardy. My favorite game to play is Scrabble.

Debra Karplus.
I am a big fan of Scrabble and would love to challenge any OLLI member(s) for a match. Anyone?

Curtis Krock. My favorite game now is Scrabble - it is a nice blend of chance and skill, doesn't take too long to play, and challenges the brain to recall some of those disappearing words.
Margaret Maurer. Scrabble and Hanabi.
Ellen McDowell. One on one: Scrabble. In a group: The Dictionary Game. Outdoors: As a child, I loved a game called "Annie, Annie, Over." One person threw a ball over a barn or shed and called, "Annie, Annie, over." The other person watched for it coming, caught it and threw it back over, with the same warning.  Sounds simple, but it was fun and good for the pitching arm.

John Moore.

Jane Somera
. Scrabble, but also Candy Crush.
Lana Wegeng. I love a challenging game of Scrabble. I am not the best of players but I put up a good fight.

Grace Ashenfelter. Bridge is my favorite game. I would love to know about others who enjoy bridge, as there frequently is need for additional players to round out a table or bridge party.

David Gross.
Casual bridge (not duplicate).  

Judith Liebman.

Mark Netter.
Although it has been decades since I last played it, my favorite game was and still is bridge. However, given my long layoff, I would only qualify to be a member of the Six Four Three Club, which means having six, bidding four, and making three.

Sherry Steigmann.
Duplicate bridge!

Sally Stillwell.
My favorite game is bridge.

Best Board Games of all Time!

From List Challenge - how many have you played?

Cards, Boardgames, & Other Indoor Games 

Liz Abraham. With others - Mahjong; alone - crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
Kathy Alexis. Euchre. It's a fast, easily learned game that still requires strategy. Good card game for families.  I learned to play it when I was in college in Indiana.

Carol Belber.
I love Boggle and play it every time my daughter comes to visit.

Tess Bennett. I started painting, watercolor and collage several years ago. I think painting is kind of a game. I never know how it will turn out! I guess that is my favorite game! I love to paint. I love playing any game with my grandson, age 5. 

Deirdre Breeding. My new favorite game is Five Crowns, a rummy-like card game with five suits.

Rabel Burdge.
Penny-ante poker and blackjack at a legitimate casino.
Chris Catanzarite. My favorite game is Left Center Right - a dice game that's fun, fast-paced, and supremely portable. It can be played by small or larger groups, and the stakes can be  as low or high as you want: pennies for the kids, and good old-fashioned folding money for the high-rolling adults. It's an essential part of all of our family gatherings!

Frank Chadwick. Favorite boardgames: Monopoly and Risk. Both are flawed, since they both take a long time to play to conclusion, and both are multi-player games which knock players out one by one, which makes it a drag for a lot of the crew. But I love them anyway. Favorite Computer Game: I'm not much of a computer game guy, but I've always liked Rome Total War and now Empire Total War. Heavy on strategy as opposed to arcade-style action. Favorite Card Game: Poker, although that's maybe not a valid answer, since poker is played more with money than cards.

Sandy Cuza.
My favorite game is Dominoes, played with my grandchildren 8 and 10, who always want to play.

Brian Dampier. New York Times crossword puzzles (but are they actually games?) Otherwise, my favorite games are professional tennis matches and many swimming and track & field events at the Summer Olympic Games.

Earl Ensrud. Charades!

Jim Faron.
I do not play games, but am learning to play chess this year.

Joyce Francisco.
Although my husband refers to it as Monotony, Monopoly is my favorite game. My father, brother, and I played many heated games when I was a child and teenager. My brother was a cutthroat player, and if he owned the orange property - St James Place, Tennessee Avenue, and New York Avenue - he always won. So my father and I would gang up to prevent him from owning all three properties. If one of us owned one, we would make sure not to sell it to him. On the other hand, he'd offer us such good deals, that sometimes it was hard to resist, especially if we were short of cash or really needed a property that he owned. We spent many hours enjoying being together. I still like to play that game, although I usually can't find anyone to play it with me since it takes so long.

Ernest & Lois Gullerud. Our favorite game is Yahtzee. 

David Hall. For playing: people watching and chess (though I'm new at it so I'm not very good). For watching: Big 10 football (though I'm a Buckeye so I have to be judicious in cheering!).
Eve Harwood. I tend toward word games such as Boggle and Taboo. Along with Words with Friends (online Scrabble) my current favorite is an app called Wordbrain - addictive anagrams in crossword formations. 
Judy Haydel. Wits and Wagers.

Marne Helgesen.

Kathleen Holden.
Quiddler. A word game that is challenging and fun ... and my, have I learned new and obscure words!

Lee Holloway.

Dolores Joseph & Donald Jones. Rummikub is our favorite game. 
Pat & John Jordan. We love watching baseball and basketball for spectator sports. But family games of Trivial Pursuit with boys against girls is a highlight for family get-togethers. The girls have the edge of wins!!!

Barbara Kendrick. I enjoy playing cards with my family, usually gin rummy. This Christmas we played a hilarious game of charades, the grownups vs the children. That used to be my favorite game, but requires a crowd of enthusiasts for the most fun.

Jeff Kirby.
Trying to outguess the stock market!

Cloydia Larimore.
I have no idea what my favorite game is. Maybe that means I need to play more games and figure out which one I enjoy the most. Scrabble? Yahtzee? Connect 4? Monopoly? I definitely know the game I dislike the most is Twister!

Cecile Lebenson.
Scattergories and Scrabble. And I just love the Word Play class!!

Chris Main.
Our new favorite board game is Buzzword because it can be played in teams, such as the women against the men or my alma mater vs your alma mater; it's a "think-fast-word-game" that never drags or gets ponderous like Scrabble. Our other favorite board game is Balderdash, which our extended family has been playing for years. It really draws on one's creativity to fabricate definitions or descriptions in order to fool your opponents into thinking you've provided the correct answer to the question. As for card games, we've been playing Euchre for decades. It's very addictive. It helps if you can remember cards but those of us who can't still have a great time.

Donna Offenbecher. My favorite game is Bananagrams.
Pam Olson. Backgammon and Scrabble.
Sam Reese. My favorite game is shuffleboard - on my own shuffleboard table, playing with my friends.

Judy Reynolds.
My favorite game? Hmm. That's a tough one. I love Rummikub (also known as Rummy Q and Color Rummy), but I'm also very fond of Scrabble and Scattergories. I also like Trivial Pursuit, when I have an evenly matched opponent.
Marian Rodgers. My favorite game is Euchre (card game)
Richard Sleeth. Six card study poker, no wild cards. 
Orlando Somera. I do a Sudoku puzzle every day, but if that doesn't count as a game, then Scrabble.
Kathie Spegal. Scopa, an Italian card game, and cribbage (when I can find someone who knows how to play).
Bill Studley. Poker
Cheri Sullivan. I love all sorts of games, as long as the people I'm playing with don't get too competitive! Current favorites are Taboo, Wits & Wagers, Rummikub, and Apples to Apples. I also really enjoy the card game Darn (some of you might know it by a stronger epithet!).
Barbara Trumpinski-Roberts. My favorite game is Dungeons & Dragons, 4th edition. I play with a group in northern Indiana once a month.
Carol Tyler. Trivial Pursuit!
Sandy Updike. I love to play Euchre!
Tony Welsh. Poker is the name of the game - 5 Card Stud, Texas Hold'em, Hi-Lo-In Between.

Barb Wleklinski.
Euchre card game, and chess.
Play and Borrow Board Games at the Urbana Free Library!

Did you know that the Urbana Free Library holds a monthly Second Saturday Game Day from 2:00-6:00 p.m?  New participants and regular attendees are welcome. Check the Library's calendar to verify dates/times.

Outside of game day, a game collection is always available for checkout and in-library use at the Spitze Reference Desk on the second floor. Visit the CU Catalog to see a full list of game titles, or browse through the alphabetical list of titles for a quick glance at descriptions, game duration, number of players, and age ranges.
Computer Games and Apps

Bari Arnote. My favorite game is Bookworm on the Internet.
Mary Avelis. My favorite game is for the iPad. It is The Room and its two sequels, Room Two and Three. The premise of the games is to move through the various rooms by solving puzzles. With Room Three, I am able to return and change my fate. This means I don't have to wait for Room Four. I can continue to play.
Cathrine Blom. Wordfeud. I also love Spider solitaire.
Robert Ferrer. Video games. I'm currently playing Fallout 4.
Connie Hosier. Magic Puzzles application on my phone!
Delora Siebrecht. My favorite game is Words with Friends. I can play when I have a few minutes.
Sports & Outdoor Games 

Mark David. Chicago Cubs and NCAA basketball are tied.
Jim Dobbins. Frisbee.
Carl Jockusch. My favorite game is tennis, which I started as a child and still enjoy playing several times a week.
Alan Metcalf. Baseball
Mike Schleuter. Golf.
Karl Schoeps. My favorite game is tennis; I love to play and watch it.
Dick Steigmann. Baseball or football.
Maury Topolosky. Drag racing.
Charles White. My favorite game is football, preferably college football. I am an ILLINI fan but do retain my love for the Tennessee Vols since I am a UT Martin alum.

OLLI Ilinois E-News Committee: Cheri Sullivan (Chair), Frank Chadwick, Connie Hosier, Bonnie Hudson (Board Liaison), Eileen Kohen, Barbara Meyer (Technical Specialist)