Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine

OLLI Newsletter

Special Edition: April 2022

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A Message from the Director

Greetings all,

Spring is coming to Maine and our spring session is moving along smoothly. Thank you to all the volunteers who help us to support classes and in-house activities, including all of our remote course tech and classroom assistants, the volunteers checking in SAGE attendees, and the members who stepped forward to run the Welcome and Hospitality tables in Wishcamper. It is joyous to have office volunteers back helping us with customer service, administrative work, and many other logistical issues that k OLLI to operate smoothly. And thanks to all of you who remembered to bring your vaccination cards to SAGE and to Wishcamper so we can assure that our lectures, classes, and workshops can operate safely.

Our recent member survey confirms that OLLI’s remote learning program was very important to you during the pandemic—and it remains so now. Because of your very positive response, we will continue to have remote courses as well as in-person courses moving forward. Of course, OLLI learning is only possible through the generosity and energy of our faculty, who have both mastered remote learning through Zoom and are now pioneering the re-entry of members to in-person classes. A special thanks to all of our instructors.

As predicted, there is lots of construction on campus surrounding Wishcamper. In the long run, we will have more parking and facilities to support USM students and OLLI members—including the new Student Success Center which will have a new bookstore and café. In the short term, however, there is more noise and mud, and we encourage you to take the walkway along Bedford Street from the Abromson Center to the front door of Wiscamper. With increased truck traffic running along the side of Wishcamper, it’s safest to stay along Bedford Street!

Finally, plans are underway for our summer session, and we will share course information through our Summer Session Catalog at the end of April.

Donna Anderson, Director

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In this edition . . .

  • Update from the OLLI Advisory Board
  • SAGE Lectures in April
  • Passages: Pat Parker
  • Reflections deadline extended

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

Star Pelsue & Penny Davis-Dublin, Co-Chairs, 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

SAGE March 22 2022

Above: OLLI Members listen to the SAGE lecture on March 22.

When I wrote this piece, OLLI was just on the verge of starting to meet in person - at least for SAGE and for Friday classes and Friday and Saturday workshops. We had also just received the summary of the survey sent out to 1,616 members and former members. It seemed to me an appropriate time to think about all of the people we have only seen online, if at all, for a long time. 

We received 414 responses to the survey, just under 30% of the people sent the survey. We also have results from the last OLLI survey in 2015 and the last two surveys done by the OLLI National Resource Center of our population.

Demographically we have changed very little—our population is predominantly female. In the most recent survey, 74% of our population is female, compared to 72% in 2020, 74% in 2018, and 73% in 2015. Only 7.5% of respondents were under age 65. 74.5% of us are aged 65 through 79 and 18% are 80 and older [Overall, the average age of all our current members is 72]. That distribution has also changed only a little over time with a slightly higher number of respondents 80 or older.

I am pleased to report that we have remained active throughout the pandemic with 89% of respondents reporting that they have participated in OLLI courses or activities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a lot more information in this survey just waiting to be analyzed so we can learn more about what people like and dislike about our course offerings and our activities, plus suggestions for new things we might tackle. This gives us a lot of information to work with as we plan our ways going forward so that we not only survey the pandemic but learn from our experiences to make our future even brighter.

Sue Jennings

Advisory Board Chair

Upcoming SAGE Lectures

When you read this article, we will be three weeks into the SAGE spring season at the Point. But the article was written the day of the very first of our Spring series. That session with young entrepreneur Patrick Breeding was a hybrid with Patrick joining us from a distance, some attendees on Zoom and others at The Point. In addition to clearly enjoying Patrick’s presentation, those at The Point certainly welcomed the opportunity to meet old OLLI friends in person, enjoy complimentary coffee or tea provided by OLLI, and, of course, the very easy parking. Please note that The Point community center is in the Clarks Pond plaza and not at Thompson’s Point.


April will bring a typically eclectic set of SAGE programs to The Point.

  • Elizabeth McLellan and Partners in World Health.
  • Kate McMahon and the slave trade in Maine (streamed live to us at The Point).
  • Professor John Muthyala and drones in your life.
  • Bonnie and Domenico Mattozzi and the mysteries of fine art conservation. 

April 5

Elizabeth McLellan

Founder of Partners for World Health

Elizabeth McLellan

Anyone who has been a hospital patient or worked in a hospital knows that lots of medical supplies are discarded when they still seem to be perfectly useful. We also read about, see on TV or observe in our personal travels to developing countries the lack of basic supplies common in our medical facilities.

Over fifteen years ago when Elizabeth McLellan worked as a medical administrator for an American oil company in the Middle East, she saw firsthand the critical importance of bridging the gap between the availability of medical supplies and equipment in the developed and developing worlds. The challenges she witnessed led to the creation of Partners for World Health, by Elizabeth in 2007, which helps fill those gaps in creative ways. This is a truly amazing story.

April 12

Kate McMahon, PhD

Smithsonian Institute

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Most of us are reasonably knowledgeable about how slavery was the foundation of the South’s economy in the 200+ years prior to the Civil War. We probably are less knowledgeable about New England’s commercial role in buying and then selling, shipping and even building the ships that transported tobacco and then cotton to Europe during those years.

We are excited to bring to SAGE Kate McMahon, PhD, from the Smithsonian Institution where she serves as a museum specialist in the National Museum of African American History & Culture and leads research efforts in the Center for the Study of Global Slavery. Kate specifically works on projects such as In Slavery’s Wake, Slave Wrecks and the Atlantic Black Box project, which focusses on Maine and New England’s role in the slave trade. Dr. McMahon’s lecture will be streamed live to us at The Point.

April 19

John Muthyala, PhD

USM Professor of English


Drones have become an unavoidable part of our cultural experience. On April 19, USM Professor of English John Muthyala, PhD, will present a lecture titled “Freedom & Democracy in the Age of Drones.” John will discuss how drones and surveillance systems are affecting individuality, privacy, democracy, and American foreign policy.

His lecture will consider how drones are represented in contemporary literature and their impact on our individual and shared digital life, in which digital tools are used to counter, deflect, or undermine threats to democracy and freedom.

April 26

Bonnie and Domenico Mattozzi

Co-Founders of the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation


Some SAGE attendees may be personally knowledgeable about the skills required to repair a valued painting or work of art. Or perhaps you’ve just read one of Daniel Silva’s best sellers with hero Gabriel Alon who is both a skilled art restorer and master spy.

The Portland Press Herald called Bonnie and Domenico Mattozzi, co-founders of the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation in Portland, “The Art Doctors”. The Mattozzi’s started their for-profit fine-art conservator corporation in 1997. They have since become a nonprofit organization. 

You do not need to be a museum, historical building, or high art collector to have a need for their services. Learn about these skills and the importance of care for your art. You don’t want an experience that the Sanctuary of Mercy church had in Borja, Spain with the 19th-century fresco of Jesus.

All SAGE lectures in the Spring of 2022 will be IN-PERSON and held at The Point, a community center across from Home Depot in South Portland. The address is 345 Clarks Pond Parkway, South Portland, ME 04106

Please note that all attendees must be fully vaccinated and boostered, and proof of vaccination will be checked at the door (those not showing proof of vaccination cannot be admitted). All attendees will be required to wear masks that must be brought by attendees---we cannot supply masks. 

Any questions about the site and admission regulations can be directed to [email protected].

And just as important, complimentary coffee and tea will be provided by OLLI prior to the lecture and during the break.

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There is still time to submit a piece for Reflections

The deadline is closing in for submissions to Reflections: A Journal of Art and Literature. It’s that time of year again – time for OLLI member authors, poets, painters, photographers, and other visual artists to think about submitting their work to Reflections, OLLI’s annual journal of art and literature.

Deadline: April 15

Click here to submit your work

Passages: Pat Parker

OLLI member and instructor Patricia Parker passed away in Switzerland on March 14, 2022. Pat was married to Richard Parker, First Amendment scholar and OLLI instructor, who died in the recent past. Pat was an English Literature scholar, teaching at colleges in Massachusetts.

In 1982 she received a Fulbright lectureship that took her to Seoul, Korea. Her love of Asia was deepened when the Parkers moved to Sendai, Japan, Dick receiving a Fulbright in turn. This experience and scholarship in Asia informed her teaching at OLLI and her work with Portland-based programs to support immigrants.

She was also active with book groups and the Maine Humanities Council. 

Read more about Pat's Life in the Portland Press Herald

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