Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine

OLLI Newsletter

June 2022

Boat on Long Pond

OLLI’s Spring Annual Fund Drive Has Begun!

Spring is here, and so is OLLI’s Annual Fund Drive! This is our chance to support OLLI’s special projects that make learning possible—the support of summer interns and student workers who serve as learning assistants and technical specialists, and the expansion of our capacity for hybrid classes in the Wishcamper Center. Both of these initiatives are essential and forward-looking and very deserving of your support.

All annual funds go into the OLLI Gift Fund, which directly supports the enrichment of learning at OLLI. Over the last few years, we built a vibrant remote learning program and we’re now offering in-person classes as well. Our challenge for the future is to bring these learning communities together through hybrid classes. To do that, we need to purchase new equipment—only two of our eight Wishcamper classrooms are “Zoom equipped.” Our spring hybrid experiments have clarified what we need to do to integrate our OLLI learners wherever they may be in ways that they can better see one another and interact fully with the instructor. We need to purchase laptops, monitors, Owl speakers/cameras, and more. You can help us to do this through a donation of any amount to our annual fund.

Anyone who has worked with our wonderful USM work-study students or summer interns knows the skill and support they bring to our classes. As we develop more recordings for classes and events, we need more video editors and content developers for our catalogs, brochures, and our future revised website (scheduled for Fall 2022).  

Each member will receive a letter and a donation envelope via US mail. You can return a donation to us using the gift envelope, or you can go to the online giving portal as well at

tinyurl.com/olliAnnualFund22. A gift in any amount is welcome—our goal is to have 20 percent of OLLI members (274) contribute to our campaign. Many thanks in advance for your support of these important initiatives, 

Donna Anderson


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In this edition . . .

  • Director's message (above)
  • Update from the board
  • Summer classes!
  • New podcast based pop-ups
  • Trivia column
  • May Walking Club excursion
  • July-August newsletter deadline

Advisory Board

Sue Jennings, Chair

Peter Curry, Vice-Chair

Paula Johnson, Secretary

Pamela Delphenich & Eileen Griffin, Co-Chairs, Teaching & Learning Committee

Anne Cass & Karen Day, Co-Chairs, Membership & Administration Committee

Gael McKibben & Elizabeth Housewright, Co-Chairs, Social Relations Committee

Star Pelsue, Chair, SAGE Committee & External Relations Committee

Lynn Bailets

Bob Greene

Georgia Koch 

David Morton

Steven Piker

John Roediger

OLLI members are invited to attend Advisory Board meetings. Check with the Chair for time and place. 

OLLI Staff

Donna Anderson, Director 

Rob Hyssong, Program Coordinator

Megan Saul, Administrative Assistant

Anne Cardale, Program Director, Maine Senior College Network 

See our smiling faces

Update from the OLLI Advisory Board

For the OLLI Advisory Board, June marks an ending and a beginning. We have six members leaving the Board after up to six years of work for all of us. They have led committees, helped design and carry out strategic plans, and worked with the OLLI staff—Donna Anderson, Rob Hyssong, and Megan Saul—to guide us forward through challenging times. The following Board members have left or will be leaving by the end of June: Gael McKibben, Penny Davis-Dublin, Bob Greene, Ruby Parker, Star Pelsue, Ronnie Wilson, and me (Sue Jennings). 

Luckily, OLLI has many talented members with lots of experience serving on boards and working with organizations like OLLI. We are even luckier that many of these same people are willing, even eager, to become new members of the OLLI Advisory Board. These new members will be welcomed to the Board at the June meeting and start work in August with a day-long Board retreat. They are Sheldon Kaye, Tom Lafavore, Chuck Remmel, Claire Smith, Louise Sullivan, and Marcia Weston.


The following members will continue their service on the Board: Lynn Bailets, Anne Cass, Peter Curry, Karen Day, Pam Delphenich, Eileen Griffin, Elizabeth Housewright, Paula Johnson, Georgia Koch, David Morton, Steve Piker, and John Roediger. 

The Board will also have a new Executive Committee. Anne Cass will take over from me as Board Chair. Paula Johnson will replace Peter Curry as Vice-Chair, and Karen Day will replace Paula as Secretary. 

We live in challenging times with lots of unknowns, so OLLI is very lucky to have such skilled and hard-working members who are willing to serve on the Board. 

As this is the last report I will be submitting as Board Chair, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of the people I have had the good fortune to work within my time on the Board. 

—Sue Jennings

Advisory Board Chair

OLLI Summer 2022 starts June 21

Registration is in full swing! There is still plenty of room in online and face-to-face classes. Registration assistance is available at the OLLI office or by phone. We can't wait to see you in class!

OLLI Office Hours:

Monday - Friday

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Phone: 207-780-4406

Email: olliatusm@maine.edu

Read more

OLLI Listens, OLLI Talks

Podcast pop ups

Besides the learning that OLLI provides, with classes and workshops, there are social events too. And not just games (although those are very popular!) Lately, we have been trying a different approach—listening together to a short podcast on a topic of current interest and then discussing it. Here’s Star’s description of how these 1½-hour sessions go:

“Podcasts are an additional way to entertain us in the digital world. The world of podcasts is vast, and anyone can create one, so the range of topics is great! Podcasts are my go-to form of entertainment that I use when on a long trip or house cleaning.

I am usually alone and have no one to discuss the ideas or information presented. This is where my fellow OLLI members come in: you are the people I enjoy discussing ideas with. I hope you will join me as we listen to podcasts and then discuss the topic. NO need to be an expert or have any knowledge of a particular topic. I will choose topics out of a wide range of fields. They will all be under 30 minutes so we have plenty of time to share our thoughts and questions.”

Podcast topics so far have included “Maine’s Angelic Troublemakers—Climate Rebels and Musicians,” “Invisible Women,” and “The Loss of Local News—News Deserts.” Please consider joining us in June—sessions will be listed in the monthly e-mail on Social Events, and registration for the discussions (two days in advance, please) will be available for OLLI members on the OLLI registration site. 

Ocean, People, Planet: The Impacts of Climate Change

Tuesday, June 14, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Amid growing public concern about rising seas, extreme weather, and disappearing biodiversity, we speak with Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a longtime participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. He explains the science behind the planet’s changing environment, its effects on the ocean, and possible solutions to avoid “the climate danger zone.”

Three Ways to Prepare Society for the Next Pandemic

Wednesday, June 22 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

What if we treated the risk of pandemics the same way we treat the risk of fires? In this eye-opening talk, infectious disease epidemiologist Jennifer B. Nuzzo unpacks how the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 sparked a cultural shift in how we defend against fires—and explains why pandemics demand the same sort of reaction. She breaks down the data we need to gather when facing possible danger, the drills we need to ready ourselves, and the defenses that could keep future threats at bay—so next time, we’re prepared.

—Elizabeth Housewright

Co-Chair Social Relations Committee

Please note: These events are free to all during the month of June 2022. 

Go to the registration portal

June Trivia Column

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The categories and topics that intrigue us change each time we meet. These April questions were the ones we thought other OLLI members would find most interesting. 

Some of our Trivia regulars have begun to bring their own questions for us to ponder in our one-minute breakout groups. If we don’t know the answer, we have a little time to make up a funny or witty response. Whatever the topics, we find lots of opportunities to laugh. We encourage you to join us (with or without your favorite trivia question) for one of our June sessions and the beginning of summer.

  1. What bone in the human body is most frequently broken?
  2. Who was the first British monarch to set foot on U.S. soil?
  3. What state in the U.S. was once known as Franklin?
  4. Which U.S. President gave Russia’s Brezhnev at least three cars?
  5. What animal is said to have inspired the crouch start in sprinting?
  6. What is a group of skylarks called?

Scroll down for the answers!

Trivia Answers!

1. What bone in the human body is most frequently broken?

(the clavicle or collar bone)

The clavicle’s location between the shoulder and rib and its function as the connection for the arm to the rest of the body are contributing factors.


2. Who was the first British monarch to set foot on U.S. soil?

(King George VI)

King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth entered the U.S. on July 7, 1939, at Niagara Falls, having accepted an invitation from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They attended a reception at the British Embassy and a formal evening event at the White House. The next day, the great-great-great-grandson of King George III visited Mount Vernon and the tomb of George Washington. On Sunday, July 9, the royal couple visited the British Pavilion of the New York World’s Fair, followed by a visit to FDR’s Hyde Park Estate. FDR’s mother, Sarah, was dismayed that the picnic menu for the King and Queen included hot dogs.


3. What state in the U.S. was once known as Franklin?


It sounded like a simple answer, and I was surprised to learn how complicated the explanation was.

After the Revolutionary War, communities west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Mississippi were not automatically part of the United States—and hadn’t gotten much attention or support from those who were. In 1784, Franklin chose to declare itself an independent state, rather than part of the union. They even considered joining Spain. After five years, in 1789, the leaders of Franklin decided to rejoin North Carolina (The land was previously considered to be four counties in North Carolina. North Carolina had ceded it to the US Government several months before they declared themselves independent.) On today’s map, the land known as Franklin is in northeast Tennessee.

What a complicated scenario! It led to a clause in the Constitution stipulating that new states cannot be formed “within the jurisdiction of any other State,” unless both state legislatures and Congress approve the change. This clause likely also impacted Mainers as they sought to separate from Massachusetts 202 years ago. Fascinating.


4. Which U.S. President gave Russia’s Brezhnev at least three cars?


  • May 29, 1972: Nixon gave Brezhnev, who loved cars, a 1972 Cadillac Eldorado.
  • June 19, 1973: Nixon gave Brezhnev a 1973 Lincoln Continental with special black velour upholstery.
  • Early July, 1974: Nixon brought a Chevrolet Monte Carlo to Moscow as a gift for Brezhnev. Brezhnev requested the car after reading that it was MotorTrend’s Car of the Year.


5. What animal is said to have inspired the crouch start in sprinting?

(the kangaroo)


6. What is a group of skylarks called? 

(an exaltation)

What a terrific group name! Spring months and the return of migratory birds to our area feels like an exaltation, even though there are not any skylarks in North America! How many collective names for different species of birds do you know? Here’s a link to one list: www.birdspot.co.uk/culture/collective-nouns-for-birds

—Faye Gmeiner

Walking Club Outing Tulip Garden

May Walking Club Outing

Twenty-seven walkers traveled to Saco on Wednesday, May 11th, to enjoy the glorious daffodils and tulips at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Even though it was late in their season, we were not disappointed by the profusion of sizes, shapes, and colors of the million daffodils spread over 170 acres, which always amazes us.

Dotty Mathes speaks to a room of people

After the walk, 22 stayed to visit the Biddeford Mills Museum across the river, which features a new exhibit on immigration. We were entertained by an excellent film, “A Walk Through History,” on the mills from their inception in 1850, the growth of the textile process, the thousands of foreign workers who came from 25 countries, and the various products that were developed and made the mills a thriving business for 170 years in the Biddeford community. Museum Director Dotty Mathes provided insights about the area, and one of the tour guides appearing in the film, who was also a former employee at the mills, was present to answer questions.

You can visit the museum on your own. To find information and to make reservations for a mill tour, go to the museum website https://biddefordmillsmuseum.org. Visitors can view the film any time they visit the museum.

a group of older people silent to tour guide David Bishop at the museum

Please Note: The Walking Club is no longer accepting new walkers. However, if you are interested in these types of excursions, you may want to try the other walking group, Trail Steppers. For more information on Trail Steppers, contact David von Seggern at vonseg1@sbcglobal.net

—Rae Garcelon

Walking Club SIG Leader

OLLI Newsletter

Are you considering submitting an article to the OLLI Newsletter? Get in contact with us!


Email ollinews@maine.edu 

to submit your piece. 


Tim Baehr, Editor

Don King, Editor Emeritus

Deadline for the July-August issue is July 1.

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