Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine

OLLI Newsletter

May 2022

Pink Rhododendron

Looking Ahead to the Summer Session

Greetings all,

Soon you will receive your copy of the Summer 2022 session catalog. Until then, here are some important facts about summertime at OLLI:


How many courses/workshops will be offered?

We’ll have 10 remote classes and 5 remote workshops, as well as 7 in-person classes and 3 in-person workshops.


Where will the in-person offerings take place?

All the in-person offerings will be in the Wishcamper Center on USM’s Portland campus unless otherwise noted in the catalog. 


When will the classes take place?

The summer schedule runs from June 21 through July 28, with makeup classes occurring the first week of August. Here is the schedule:


Afternoon Zoom remote courses


Morning workshops (remote & in-person)

Afternoon in-person courses


Morning and afternoon in-person courses


Morning and afternoon remote course

What about parking?

OLLI members may park in the garage behind the Abromson Center. There will be no charge for parking during the OLLI summer session.


What are the current Covid protocols?

While the regulations are subject to change, proof of full vaccination is required, and we ask that members and instructors wear masks in classrooms for their protection.


When will registration start for the Summer Session?

Registration will begin June 1 after midnight. Please note that scholarship students should send in applications to the OLLI office by late May for processing.

Donna Anderson, Director

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In this edition . . .

  • Summer session update (above)
  • Update from the Board
  • New format for the newsletter
  • "Opening Doors at OLLI" by Elsa van Bergen
  • Lecture on Ukraine - May 3
  • Trivia Column
  • Lyme Disease Awareness Month

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

OLLI group activity

Above: OLLI Members participate in an activity during Friday classes.

At a recent meeting of the Maine Senior College Network, representatives from OLLI and the 16 other Senior Colleges in Maine talked about ways in which we might work to bring back members who stopped coming to classes due to the pandemic and to recruit new members to our groups. OLLI did a good job of maintaining our membership over the last two years, down only about 40 percent from pre-Covid days, but I still get questions from people about when OLLI is going to open up again. It seems not everyone is aware that we never closed down—just moved to remote learning. Maine also continues to attract newly retired residents to our area—another audience that we could appeal to.

Although dealing with the pandemic has been challenging, and we still have uncertainties about its impact going forward, we are moving on to a mix of on-site and remote learning and other social activities so members can choose the option that works best for them. Keep an eye on the OLLI website, the monthly newsletter, posts on Facebook, and monthly e-mails on pop-up sessions, trips, and other activities. 

AND most importantly, share information about OLLI with your friends and neighbors. Our best recruiting opportunities come from word-of-mouth advertising. We look forward to seeing you and your friends in the upcoming year. 

—Sue Jennings, Advisory Board Chair

New Format for the OLLI Newsletter

Over the past two decades, our OLLI Newsletter has had just three basic formats. The third format, the creation of our layout editor, Mogens Ravn (more about him later), was for the March issue of this year. The fourth format, which we saw for the special April issue, is the beginning of a new way of publishing and distributing the newsletter. This May issue, which you are now reading, continues the transition.

Two factors, both originating at USM, are behind the change. First, USM online publications are required to be in a format that is accessible to people with limitations that make it hard to access the content. Second, there is a move to unify the look of publications as a way of easily identifying their origin at USM. OLLI’s publications may have their own distinctive look, but they will also adhere to the USM requirements. Because of the technical underpinnings of the new format, the OLLI Newsletter (and catalogs, notices, e-mails, etc.) will be produced by OLLI staff.

From December 2014 to March 2022, the newsletter layout has been in the capable hands of Mogens Ravn. That’s about 75 issues he has worked on as an OLLI volunteer. And for those 75 issues, I have found Mogens to be utterly dependable—but perhaps more importantly, consistent, creative, flexible, and unflappable. He truly has been a joy to work with, and he has my deep gratitude. Mogens’s contributions to our OLLI are an example of the work of many volunteers who (sometimes over many years) keep OLLI thriving and growing.

—Tim Baehr, Editor

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Above: Mogens Ravn pictured with his wife on an OLLI Trip abroad.

We would like to send a special thanks to Mogens for working so diligently on OLLI’s newsletter. His commitment to designing the newsletter allowed us to share important and entertaining news with our members on a regular basis—he has earned a well-deserved “retirement” from this work and the appreciation of OLLI staff and members alike. 

—Donna Anderson, Director

Opening Doors at OLLI

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Yes! The doors are beginning to open to our classes at last. While this is cause for celebration, the fact is, OLLI has been opening doors of a different kind for all of its years. Courses and workshops invite us toward new vistas, new ways of thinking, and new adventures. Some classes seem to have that as their mission: think philosophy and religion or the social sciences. One foreign-born participant in history courses and book group has discovered one thing leads to another and on his own is delving deep into previously uncharted depths of American history. Offerings in literature and writing encourage personal journeys. Anne Cass has structured her series “Enjoying Short Stories” to include community-building to facilitate conversation and insights.

“I’m now reading in a whole new way,” says class member Maryagnes Gilman. Retired as a nurse administrator and director of a community center, she enthusiastically returned to a genre she hadn’t read since high school. Living 40 miles from Portland, she enjoyed the way Zoom allowed her to engage with others in exploring characters, themes, and writers’ styles and finds the exposure to different viewpoints led her to see deeper meaning in novels as well. Looking back on his evolving involvement with OLLI since 2008 (instructor, member of the Advisory Board and many committees, managing our newsletter and production of Reflections), Tim Baehr sees a fiction writing course with Denney Morton as a significant turning point. A nonfiction editor and writer of texts, business materials, and children’s dictionaries most of his

life, he found his horizons expanding dramatically into creating stories and writing tons of flash fiction, even teaching courses in it. “It’s not much of a stretch to think all this started with one of Denney’s courses,” he says.

And then there are the OLLI courses that are lifestyle-changing. Timing is everything, they say. Last fall I was perplexed by needing to find homes for tucked-away collectibles and accumulations that the tastes, needs, and spaces of heirs would not welcome. To the rescue:

OLLI’s winter catalog’s offering “Selling on Etsy.com for Fun & Profit.” For six weeks Barbara Rich brought her expertise from years of running two different shops in the giant global online marketplace Etsy, as well as her skill in working with people as faculty of USM’s School of

Social Work for more than four decades. She shared screens and tips with the class, and with some caveats encouraged me into a new way of thoughtful recompensed de-cluttering and a brand-new focus: becoming a retailer of my vintage objects.

OLLI catalog blurbs can only hint at the experience our invaluable instructors offer. Recipient of awards, fellowships, and grants, Barbara Rich looks back on the long list of her academic papers, presentations, new course development, and varied service to the School of Social Work and feels her greatest accomplishment was being able to work with the Portland community and to open doors for USM students. One course brought the class―and sewing machines and supplies―to Central American villages badly needing their assistance. Some others focused on abuse, stress, and the challenges to adolescents in a violent world. Off-campus, Barbara worked with many groups aiding refugees, the elderly, and troubled young people.

After retirement, Barbara served the Red Cross as a community specialist in disaster preparation, and she found time to evaluate the overwhelming collection of things left by generations of her

family; 500 Etsy sales later, there is still more to list in her vintage and craft supplies shops. At OLLI she is a member of the Arts and Crafts SIG, where she enjoys sharing skills and learning new techniques. Under Barbara’s tutelage, I took the steps toward opening an Etsy, after finally finding a name not already used somehow and, like the midsommar wreath logo I chose, reflecting the Swedish origin of many of my things.

Anyone wishing to know more about how all this works can contact

me at ejvanbergen2@gmail.com. As former possessions ranging from art glass to a doll to a stereoscope find happy new homes in Australia, Texas, and beyond, I savor the surprising role OLLI led me to, the chance to have friendly e-conversations with buyers around the world, and the sense of satisfaction that I will be leaving less behind.

―Elsa van Bergen

Spring SAGE Lecture Series

SAGE Spring 2022 Lecture Series

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine:

Why Did It Happen and How Will It End?

May 3

9:30 — 11:30 a.m.

with Andrea Hester

Regretfully, we must announce that Mary Haynes-Rogers and Jill Silander from Shalom House will not be able to join us on May 3. Instead, the SAGE speaker for our final program this spring will be Andrea Hester from the World Affairs Council of Maine.

Over the past three months our attention has been captured by the events in Ukraine. We continue to devour TV and print media about that country’s tragedy. The May 3 SAGE session presents an opportunity to pull together what we are seeing and reading, learn from our speaker, ask questions, and generate an informed discussion.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has rocked Europe and the world. The post-Cold War era is over. NATO has gained new relevance, and President Joe Biden is leading the Western effort to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government with unprecedented sanctions as well as military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. What motivated Putin to lash out at Ukraine? Will European opposition remain unified despite its dependence on Russian oil and gas? What does “victory” look like for either side?

Andrea Hester


Andrea Stanley Hester serves as Vice President of the World Affairs Council of Maine and as President of the Harvard Club in Maine. She is also an occasional instructor at OLLI, having taught Great Decisions, “Trump, Brexit and the Rise of Populism,” and “Women Heroes of WWII.”

In her former life, she was an editor/writer for the President of Harvard University and administrator of the University’s International Visitors Program. Andrea has a bachelor's degree in modern European history from Tufts University and a master's degree in Government from Harvard.

Location and COVID Precautions

The SAGE Lecture Series will take place IN-PERSON at The Point community center located at 345 Clarks Pond Parkway, South Portland, ME 04106

Attendees must be fully vaccinated and boosted. Proof of vaccination will be checked at the door. All attendees are required to wear masks. Questions about the site and admission regulations can be directed to donna.anderson@maine.edu.

―Bob Goettel, SAGE Commitee Member

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May Trivia Column

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Here are some of our favorite Trivia questions from March and early April. We invite you to laugh and learn with us on Monday evenings! Check out the Special Events e- mails. Registering to participate is done the same way that you sign up for OLLI classes, and it’s free for OLLI members.

You can find the answers to the questions by scrolling below.

  1. Who was the first U.S. President to be born in a hospital?
  2. Can you finish this quotation? “Remember, don’t be surprised if someone comes up to you and says, ‘___________________.’”
  3. What is the name of the tune to which “Battle Hymn of the Republic was written?”
  4. What poet was expelled from West Point in 1831?
  5. What is the literal meaning of the word “karate?”
  6. What did the Yippies nominate for President in 1968?
  7. What epidemic killed over 3,000 of the approximately 35,000 New Yorkers during 1795 and 1798?
  8. What is IBM’s motto?

Trivia Answers!

  1. Jimmy Carter: Our 39th President was born on October 1, 1924, at the Wise Clinic in Plains, Georgia.
  2. “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
  3. “John Brown’s Body:” Originally a camp-meeting hymn, first published in 1807. It became popular during the Civil War. Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist writer, wrote a poem, set to the music, for the Atlantic Monthly. She was paid five dollars when “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published in February 1862. It quickly became a huge hit!
  4. Edgar Allen Poe: Poe first enrolled at the University of Virginia but dropped out after one year due to financial difficulties. He then enrolled at West Point, but he soon became committed to getting expelled. In January 1831 he accrued 66 offenses and was expelled for “disobedience of orders” and “gross neglect of duty.”
  5. Empty hand: The Japanese “kara” means empty and “te” means hand(s)—a literal reference to unarmed self-defense.
  6. Pigasus the Pig: The Youth International Party (Yippies), led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, believed that American politics had fallen into absurdity and that the only way to fight absurdity was with absurdity. In true political theater, they held a mock convention to nominate Pigasus, who had been raised by Phil Ochs, the folk singer.
  7. Yellow Fever: It took scientists over a century to learn that the virus was spread by a species of mosquito. They developed a vaccine in 1937.
  8. Think: Thomas J. Watson, Sr., is credited with being the first business leader to consciously create a culture for a company. He had adopted the motto “Think” at his National Cash Register Company in 1911. When the company merged with two other companies in 1924, he quickly adopted the motto for the new International Business Machines (IBM). It’s been in use for over 100 years!

—Faye Gmeiner

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine

Learn how to stay safe this year by clicking the document to the right or click the link below.

Read More
Lyme Disease Awareness Month

OLLI Newsletter

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


OLLI Office:

Wishcamper Center, Room 210

P.O. Box 9300

Portland, ME 04104-9300


Fax: 207-780-4317


Tim Baehr, Editor

Don King, Editor Emeritus

Deadline for the June issue is May 15.

Additional Websites


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