Creative Aging Festivals - A Great Way to Showcase OLLI - OLLI at George Mason University
Intergenerational Programming - My Sages & Seekers Experience - OLLI at Brandeis University
Summer Series on Criminal Justice - OLLI at Furman University
A Day of "Heavy Metal" in Ann Arbor - OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University
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Greetings from the NRC    Aug 201515

It has been an exciting summer for us at the Osher NRC! 

Beyond working diligently to organize the National Conference, the NRC staff just returned from the Southern Regional Conference for Learning in Retirement, hosted by the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kudos go to their team pictured
OLLI at Univ of Alabama
here. This outstanding event gave us the opportunity to meet many OLLI staff and volunteer leaders and participate in some excellent sessions and discussions. In opening remarks, Dean Edelbrock was clear and proud of UA's commitment to lifelong learning: it is core to the University's mission of access, diversity and affordability. All efforts with this conference are proof of that commitment. Thanks to the team at Alabama for their leadership and gracious Southern hospitality - Roll Tide!

At the Southern Regional Conference we learned a number of lessons to help us with the upcoming National Conference in Charlotte. As you remember, registration for the conference begins August 5th. Read more about it in this newsletter and in the links to the NRC website provided below. 

We send our best wishes to you for a productive August.  But we hope amidst your own fall kick-offs and program preparations, you have the chance to enjoy these wonderful final weeks of summertime.
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director
NRC for Osher Institutes 


OLLI at George Mason University

Creative Aging Festivals - A Great Way to Showcase OLLI!

A Celebration of the Arts

Although hazy skies kept temperatures at bay, the talent was hot at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University as musical groups, artists and poets converged May 29 for a celebration of the arts. The OLLI Arts Open House treated participants to a smorgasbord of sight and sound, with stirring performances by the Institute's Poetry Workshop, Recorder Consort, Singing for Fun and Tallwood Trio, as well as dazzling visuals from the Photography Club, Crafts and Conversation, Sketching and Drawing, and Watercolors groups.

The OLLI-Mason event was part of Fairfax County's Creative Aging Festival, the first event ever, in northern Virginia, to showcase the arts programs offered to older adults. The month-long festival featured over 100 activities across the county designed to unlock the creative spirit. Fairfax County has been at the forefront of offering programs to older Americans that bolster mental and physical well-being as part of its "Fairfax County's 50+ Community Action Plan" initiative.

VA Delegate Ken Plum and Fairfax County Supervisors Chairperson Sharon Bulova participated in the event, offering supportive words about the key role OLLI plays in enriching the lives of area seniors. OLLI President Glenn Kamber noted how happy OLLI was to "showcase the work of our talented members with the community, elected officials and fellow OLLI participants." The Open House not only was a great opportunity to showcase OLLI's creative side, it was a wonderful opportunity for OLLI members to have fun and savor our many arts offerings.

Creative aging festivals are a wonderful way for communities to engage local retirees. And they provide a great way for OLLIs to broadcast their offerings while strengthening ties with regional officials. If you would like to engage your OLLI in a similar celebration, contact your local office servicing older adults, council on the arts or AARP to inquire.

According to Pablo Picasso, "every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Let your OLLI demonstrate that art flourishes well after 50! 

Submitted by: Alice Slayton Clark, Communication Associate/Registrar, OLLI at George Mason University 

OLLI at Brandeis University

Intergenerational Programming  
My Sages & Seekers Experience

Sharing Stories

As a long-term member of the OLLI at Brandeis University's (BOLLI) community, my life has been greatly enhanced by the learning opportunities and social connections I have made with like-minded fully engaged peers. The opportunities presented by my participation in BOLLI have enhanced my life in countless ways. Not the least of which has been my involvement in the recruitment of my peers and serving as the group facilitator of the extraordinarily successful eight week BOLLI/Brandeis Sages & Seekers program on campus. Sages & Seekers is an intergenerational program that "pairs college and high school students with older adults, sharing experiences and history. The program has produced profound results for both generations; seniors feel more relevant and engaged; young adults feel more empathy, compassion, and connection with others. It is a powerful program with the ultimate goal of diminishing ageism." 

Upon observing a few sessions of the Sages & Seekers intergenerational program at a local private school, I knew that our BOLLI members were perfect candidates to share their life experiences and accumulated wisdom with the undergraduate students at Brandeis.


One of the keys to the success of the first of the three, eight-week sessions that have taken place at BOLLI was that I personally approached several of my peers, enthusiastically explaining the program, answering questions and concerns, and promising a rewarding and ground-breaking opportunity. 


Sarah Lamb, a Brandeis Professor of Anthropology of Aging course, supported the program with undergraduate recruitment. She welcomed the opportunity for her students to acquire interview skills, learn about aging from these articulate senior adults and apply academic theory to real life subjects. The hands-on experience gained by the undergrads became much sought after among Anthropology of Aging, as well as, Psychology students.

At this point I have facilitated several Sages & Seekers programs and the impact of the participants in both age brackets have been impactful and I am quite certain will have life-long effects. In sharing their rich life experiences, not only do the Sages have the profound opportunity for "life review", but in portraying the value and relevancy of their lives, they are dispelling stereotypes of older adults, thus diminishing ageism.


Submitted by: Margie Nesson, OLLI at Brandeis University 

OLLI at Furman University

Summer Series on Criminal Justice 

Since 2011, the Osher Institute at Furman University has collaborated with the Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership, part of the Department of Political Science at Furman, to present Straight Talk South Carolina. This weekly four-part series takes place in July and August and includes high-profile speakers, academics, and those who have on-the-ground experience with issues and topics of interest to Americans, and, in particular, South Carolinians.

The first series, titled The Legacy of the Civil War and the Long Road to Civil Rights, enjoyed great success and proved that the summer series idea was a good one. Two South Carolinas: A Look at Disparities in Education, Justice and Health was the title of the 2012 series. In 2013, OLLI took a closer look at healthcare, and in 2014, examined the plight of the working poor.


Crime and Punishment: Thinking Outside the Cell began on July 28, 2015 with more than 200 in attendance. The audience for these events is typically a good mix of OLLI members, community leaders, and other interested citizens in the Greenville, SC area. 

Straight Talk SC has been a great program for OLLI at Furman for many reasons. Without classes in July or August, many OLLI members were looking for a way to connect during those "off" months. The series has been wonderful outreach into the community, too. Collaboration with the Riley Institute has been positive, and has led to other courses and programs for OLLI. The series is also a wonderful way to get senior adults, college students, and other members of the community in the same room to hear about current issues and problems and ponder potential solutions. 


Submitted by: Nancy Kennedy, OLLI at Furman University  

OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University 
A Day of "Heavy Metal" in Ann Arbor


This unique local trip offered by the OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University offered members the opportunity to see and hear "heavy metal" on two amazing organs and the Charles Baird Carillon. Quoted by one OLLI member: "This trip was a surprising, entertaining day. Starting with Olli member Helmut Schick on the bus on our way there giving us a lot of background on Organs and how he was involved with one in particular at the First Congregational Church that he regularly tunes. Along with that upon arriving in Ann Arbor we met Kip Cortez, Director of Music and Organist at St. Lukes Episcopal Church. And the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. And could he play the organs, but wait there's more, it's the Charles Baird Carillon bells in the Burton Tower that really impressed me!"

The organ excursion included the 1985 organ by Karl Wilhelm at the First Congregational Church which has 2,700 pipes, and the 1893/1927/1955 Frieze Organ in Hill Auditorium which has 7,500 pipes. These two instruments showed OLLI members different approaches to organ building while retaining "heavy metal" pipes of lead, tin, zinc, as well as wood.  Members also had the opportunity to listen to the Charles Baird Carillon, the third largest carillon in the world.  It has 53 bronze bells and the largest one weighs 12 tons! 

This local excursion is a great example of how Osher Institutes can find fun and interesting attractions in their own towns.  


Submitted by: Jo Brownlie, OLLI at Saginaw Valley State University

Photos by Dan Dauer

NRC Updates

Visits and Construction

Paul McNeil, Dean, UC Davis Extension, Stacey Hart, NRC Manager of Operations, Lorraine Townsend, Program Coordinator/Director, OLLI at UCD, Dave Hawke, Vice-President, Membership Chair, Lisa Youngs, Program Assistant
National Resource Center Manager of Operations, Stacey Hart, recently had the opportunity to visit the OLLI at University of California, Davis. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers and learn about the many great activities both in and out of the classroom that OLLI at UCD offers. "I'm very much looking forward to meeting many more of you in my travels and at the National Conference in October," said Stacey.

Painters Hard at Work
Painters Hard at Work

Speaking of visits, the Osher National Resource Center offices are undergoing a welcome renewal here on the downtown Chicago campus of Northwestern University. Our host college/division, similar to many Osher Institutes, is the School of Professional Studies (SPS). SPS has facilities on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses - downtown often being convenient for the continuing education, certificate, and graduate degree programs in the urban employment hub. Our building is
New Carpet Installation
between the Law and Medical schools of Northwestern, one of three towers completed in 1927 - the original buildings of the downtown campus. Extensive renovations are underway on three floors of Wieboldt Hall. Our NRC remodeling is more modest but no less appreciated. Within weeks, the improved space will welcome OLLI staff and volunteer leaders who visit the Windy City. Please give us a call if you plan to be in Chicago. We would love to see you here at our "NU" NRC offices.

  Charlotte, NC - October 2015
conferenceNational Conference Update

Check the NRC website for National Conference updates including:

  • The 2015 Osher Institute National Conference will commence at 4pm on Monday, October 12th, with the registration table opening at 2pm. 
  • We're going green! In an effort to be environmentally responsible, the NRC is going to be reducing the amount of paper that is produced for the conference. Attendees will still receive all of the wonderful resources you're used to, but they will be in electronic format so that you can take them back to your OLLI and adapt them for your own programs.
  • It's here! The online conference registration link will be emailed to OLLI Directors on August 5th and will remain live through August 15th.
  • Wondering where you're headed? Here's a link the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, NC. Check out these beautiful walking trails around the hotel and golf course:

 basecamp Basecamp Committee Report

Getting the most out of Basecamp:
How to Control Email Notifications

To avoid email overload sign up for the Daily Recap. This daily email summary lists the topics discussed each day as hyperlinks. With this option, you can quickly scan through the posts each day and pick out the information that is relevant and useful to you.   

Watch this short one minute instructional video or follow these instructions to change your email alert settings. 


  • Click on "Me" in the top menu bar
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  • Scroll down to "Other Email Options"
  • Select "Email me Daily Recap every morning"  

  • The OLLI Insider

    An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
    dearolliDear Olli

    Dear Olli,

    OLLI is an actonym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. As such, it is prestigious with capital letters. Let's keep it that way. If you are trying to name the owl, try something else. How about Hoot?

    Sincerely, Concerned 

    Dear Concerned,

    You make an interesting point - one that the editors at the Osher NRC discussed in establishing this column. It was felt that using the lower case characters in my current name, Olli, would make your point. But we do realize that others might be bothered by this name like you. So, let's put it to a vote! Anyone who would like to respond to this single question survey on what my name should be, is invited to click here for the link to the survey.  Survey results will appear in this space next month.  

    With best wishes, Olli (my name for now...)


    Dear Olli,

    A somewhat embarrassing question, but important to me because I've not attended an Osher Institute National Conference in the past - what is the dress code? Do I need to update my formal-wear wardrobe? 

    Thank you, Stylin' 

    Dear Stylin',

    Your current closet will likely accommodate all needs for Charlotte in October. First, comfort is key, and that likely involves a little layering. We spend a good amount of our time in air-conditioned meeting rooms. As you know, these vary in temperature; it will be cool for some, warm for others. Solution: dress in layers, with a light sweater or jacket that is easy to shed or add as needed. The term business casual is appropriate. Slacks and shirts are great, dresses, suits, and ties are not really necessary. We'll have opportunities for you to take outdoor walks and to exercise in the morning too. Consider some comfy shoes during the day, but know that at one of our dinners, we have an opportunity to step it up a little. Your best version of casual attire might be held for that evening. Also know that at our Carolina BBQ evening, we'll all be asked to wear our school colors or perhaps logo-ware to show our institutional pride and to give folks a chance to talk about their host OLLI school. (Olli is looking for that perfect golf-shirt at the campus bookstore). All in all, let your clothes help you feel relaxed and ready to learn and share with your wonderful colleagues. 

    Always Dapper, Olli

    Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu 

    Educational Travel Ideas from In and Outside the OLLI Network
    The OLLI Traveler

    OLLI at the University of Massachusetts Boston

    Discover Thailand 

    Our trip to Thailand in the past several years has been a big success. Most participants sum up this trip as "the best trip I ever took in my life." On this 16-day journey, we delve into the distant past by visiting some of the nation's most impressive temples and palaces. Along the way, you'll meet local residents and visit a school in the North; uncover traditional crafts; ride an elephant; cruise along a river on a bamboo raft; and take a cooking class; shop in the world largest weekend market; and taste the regional cuisines. It's an adventure like no other since you will be accompanied by Wichian Rojanawon, OLLI Director, who is a native of Thailand. Wichian will facilitate a 5-week course Discover Thailand: A Country of Beauty and Contradictions which will broadcast live to all of our offsite locations via video conference. He will also conduct an orientation to prepare participants for the trip and provide an opportunity for everyone to meet and enjoy a taste of Thai cuisine. Click here for more information.

    Dates: Nov 9 - 25, 2015

    OLLI at University of Cincinnati

    The Experience of Gettysburg: The Battle, the People, the Place

    The Battle of Gettysburg -July 1-3, 1863 -determined the outcome of the Civil War. This bloodiest of battles left 28,000 Confederate and 23,000 Union casualties. Expert guides bring history alive as you trace battlefield strategies, separate legend from lore and gain an understanding of the impact on the town and its people. Learn how the battle affected the 2,400 civilians who called Gettysburg "home," and meet George and Hettie Shriver, whose home has been meticulously restored to its 1860 appearance. Experience the new Gettysburg National Military Park & Museum and explore sites related to each day of the battle, including McPherson's Ridge, Eternal Light Peace Memorial, Barlow's Knoll, Confederate Avenue along the Southern line of Pickett's Charge, Little Round Top, the 20th Maine and the Wheatfield. Be entertained by a folk musician who plays Civil War-era music on his handmade dulcimer, banjo, accordion and harmonica. Offered through Road Scholar. Click here for more information.

    Dates: Sep 13 - 18, 2015


    OLLI at University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside

    Take the road less traveled through central Italy and explore Tuscany and Umbria's smaller, more authentic towns. Participate in a cooking class in Umbria's country homes while dining with a local family. Sample local specialties while sipping the famed Sagrantino wine during a winery visit near the "Balcony of Umbria," Montefalco. Travel to Volterra and visit one of the most famous Etruscan museums in Italy, the Guarnacci Museum. Experience the benefits of personal audio headsets, designed for better communication between you and your guides throughout your tour. Click here for more information.

    Dates: Apr 8 - 18, 2016

    Interesting Facts to Know and Talk About
    didyouknowDid You Know...?
    • Our brains do better if they are exposed to brain teasers, brain games, and logic puzzles?
    • Every second, two people will turn 60 years old
    • Colonel Sanders founded Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65.

      Career Openings in the OLLI Network
    jobboardJob Board

    Senior Program Coordinator, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
    University of Texas at Austin

    Program Coordinator, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    The University of Arizona

    Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    University of Las Vegas, Nevada