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OLLI Commons

Welcome to OLLI This Week!

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Michigan is virtual this winter. We continue to consult with Michigan Medicine as to when we can return programming to in-person. Stay tuned for more information!

For Turner Senior Resource Center building hours, click here.

For OLLI office hours, click here.

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Winter/Spring 2022

Registration is now open!

Study Groups

Many of our Study Groups still have space available for members to join this fall. Check out a few below! To register for a group, click the button below. To learn more about each group, click the title.


Misidentifications in the Pohrt Collection of Native American Photography

Day/Time: Thursday, 1:00-2:30pm

Date: January 20

Instructor: Jakob Dopp

Michigan History Series

Day/Time: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, various times

Dates: January - August

Instructor: History Hounds, Historical Society of Michigan

This series is brought to you by an OLLI donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Fun with the Dictionary

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:00am-12:00pm

Date: February 14 - March 7

Instructor: Alice Horning

Love Letters and Romance in the Archives

Day/Time: Monday, 1:00-2:30pm

Date: February 14

Instructor: Jayne Ptolemy

Caravans, Cultures, and Chinggis Khan along the Silk Route

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 1:00‐3:00pm  

Dates: March 2 ‐ March 30

Instructor: Rudi Lindner 

Magic in Some Shakespeare Plays

Day/Time: Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00pm

Dates: March 2 - March 23

Instructor: Robert Lamphear


Only Hope: A Survivor’s Stories of the Holocaust

Day/Time: Tuesday, 1:00-2:30pm

Date: March 1

Instructor: Irving Lubliner

Gallery Walks: Dutch Treats

Day/Time: Fridays, 1:00-3:00pm

Dates: March 4 - March 25

Instructor: Michael Kapetan


The Bee Lady Talks

Day/Time: Thursday, 1:00-2:30pm

Dates: March 3

Instructor: Victoria McIntyre

The Populist Origins of Corporate Capitalism in Jeffersonian Virginia

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:00-11:00am

Dates: March 7 - March 21

Instructor: Jason Barrett

Then and Now: Observations on Aging From a 19th-Century Physician

Day/Time: Thursday, 3:00-4:30pm

Date: March 24

Instructor: Jayne Ptolemy

Not Just For Kids: Discovering Wisdom, Symbolism and Enlightenment with Dr. Seuss

Day/Time: Thursday, 1:00-3:00PM

Date: March 31 - April 7

Instructor: Tenagne Cameron

You’ve Got the Time: A Complete Overview of Independent Publishing 

Day/Time: Mondays, 10:00am-12:00pm

Dates: April 11 - May 2

Instructor: Ken Wachsberger

Stock Selection: A Primer

Day/Time: Monday,10:00 - 11:30am

Date: April 25 - May 23

Instructor: Robert Shaw

Happening This Week at OLLI


OLLI Out of Town

National Plan for Vacation Day: Art and Religion in the Cyclades

 Tuesday, January 25


Speaker: Road Scholar

To learn more about this lecture, click here.

Thursday Morning Lecture Series

Global Waters Exploration; Flora and Fauna

Lecture Series #3 of 6: Global Rivers: A New View from Space

Thursday, January 27

10:00 – 11:30am

Speaker: Prof. Tamlin M. Pavelsky

To learn more about this lecture, click here.

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Lunch Bunch: Thursday, January 27 from noon – 1pm to discuss the lecture      


Join the group to discuss the Thursday morning lecture.

Register for the Lunch Bunch now and receive the link each week. Join us whenever you want to discuss the Thursday lecture you just heard!  To register, sign into the OLLI website and then head to https://olli-umich.org/olli/index.php/member/ctlg/viewEventDetails/2417

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OLLI Reads

The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice 

Friday, January 28

10:00am - 11:30am 

Speaker: Dr. Scott Ellsworth 

To learn more about this OLLI Reads event, click the book above.


OLLI Commons

The Commons is OLLI’s free meetup place!

We invite you to join activities in The Commons, OLLI’s free meetup place. To receive the Zoom link for a group or event in The Commons, please register beforehand. All events are free! Use the instructions here to register. 

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Poetry Reading: Friday, January 21, from 7pm – 8pm with Ginny Bentz

Bring a poem of your own or a favorite one written by someone else.  

You will have about five minutes to read aloud and to give some context, so one longer poem or two short ones work well. If you’d rather just listen, that’s okay too. Sip on a glass of wine or a cup of tea as we sit back, relax, and applaud each unique offering! To register, sign into the OLLI website and then head to https://olli-umich.org/olli/index.php/member/ctlg/viewEventDetails/2418     


Volunteer Ann Arbor, Tuesday, January 25 from 9am – 10am

hosted by Steve Nason

(This new program takes place the 2nd and 4th Tuesday mornings of each month at 9:00am)

Here’s a chance to learn about interesting new ways to help in the community, or to share your group’s volunteer needs with others, in a casual discussion where questions are welcomed.  To register, sign into the OLLI website and then head to https://olli-umich.org/olli/index.php/member/ctlg/viewEventDetails/2530


Book Beat: Tuesday, January 25 from 4:00pm- 5:00pm

with hosts Marjorie Oliver and Laurie Barnett

Join us to share a book you received or enjoyed over the holidays.

To register, sign into the OLLI website and head to


Please contact OLLI staff if you have any issues registering.


The Schmoozery: 

Wednesday, January 26 from 1pm – 2pm with Hank Greenspan

A facilitated conversation:  At our Age…In this Age

Join this free, facilitated conversation in which participants are invited

to share stories and reflections about aging, generations, hopes,

and related topics in “uncertain times.”   To register, sign into the OLLI website and then head to https://olli-umich.org/olli/index.php/member/ctlg/viewEventDetails/2416

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Mark your calendar: First Friday Happy Hour on Friday, February 4 at 4:30pm, with new OLLI Director Angela Bingham

Mark your calendar for First Friday Happy Hour on Friday, February 4, at 4:30pm Our special guest will be new OLLI Director Angela Bingham. Lynn Boyer will host.

To register, sign into the OLLI website and then head to https://olli-umich.org/olli/index.php/member/ctlg/viewEventDetails/2419

Interested in hosting a program or event in the Commons in 2022?

Please reach out to Ginny Bentz at ginny.bentz@gmail.com

See The Commons Calendar



To register for the lectures in this series, click the button below.


Alternatively, call or email the Turner Senior Wellness Program at

(734) 998-9353 or nrrevier@med.umich.edu

Food Drive Drop Off

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is hosting a food drive for the Ann Arbor Food Gatherers through the end of this month. We will be accepting non-perishable goods at the Turner Senior Resource Center, located at 2401 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Donations can be dropped off Monday - Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm.

Below is a list of the most needed food items.


Do you have a quote about OLLI that you would like to share?

Julie is looking for some new quotes to add to the next catalog. Send them to her at julieba@med.umich.edu

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Thursday Morning Lecture Series

Global Waters Exploration; Flora and Fauna

Lecture Series #4 of 6: A History of Water Accumulation and Loss in the Great Lakes

Thursday February 3, 2022

1:00 – 2:30pm

Speaker: Dr. Andrew Gronewold

To learn more about this lecture, click here.

OLLI Reads

Upcoming OLLI Reads Events

OLLI Reads is pleased to announce two new events for the Winter/Spring session - Scott Ellsworth will be discussing his new book on the Tulsa Race Massacre The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice (January 28th at 10 AM). There will also be a facilitated discussion of Mary Doria Russell’s The Women of the Copper Country (March 18th at 10 AM). 


Copies of both books are available in the office for OLLI members to check out and read in preparation for these two events. 

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The Women of the Copper Country

Mary Doria Russell

Friday, March 18

10:00am - 11:30am

To learn more about this OLLI Reads event, click the book above.


OLLI Reads is privileged once again to be associated with the Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read featuring Mary Doria Russell’s The Women of the Copper Country, a work of historical fiction about the 1913-14 copper miners’ strike in the U.P.  


The main event for OLLI is a discussion of the novel by students of John Staunton, Associate Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s Honors College. Dr. Staunton will facilitate the discussion. The event is free and open to the public via Zoom on Friday March 18, 2022 at 10 a.m.


A number of supplemental programs will be offered by OLLI and by the Great Michigan Read partners: the Honors College of EMU and the Ypsilanti District Library.  


OLLI’s first offering is a special poetry reading focusing on the work of well-known British and American poets who gave voice to the conditions of working men, women, and children that led to the union movement. The poetry reading will be via Zoom on Friday, March 4, at 7:00 p.m. on the Commons. 


Although both the OLLI Reads discussion of The Women of the Copper Country and the poetry reading are free and open to the public, you must register on the OLLI website to receive the appropriate Zoom link. 


As a count down to the OLLI Reads event and the poetry reading, we will publish one famous labor poem in the newsletter each week.


This week’s selection is by William Blake.

The Chimney Sweeper: When my mother died I was very young


When my mother died I was very young, 

And my father sold me while yet my tongue 

Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!" 

So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep. 


There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head 

That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved, so I said, 

"Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare, 

You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair." 


And so he was quiet, & that very night, 

As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight! 

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack, 

Were all of them locked up in coffins of black; 


And by came an Angel who had a bright key, 

And he opened the coffins & set them all free; 

Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run, 

And wash in a river and shine in the Sun. 


Then naked & white, all their bags left behind, 

They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind. 

And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy, 

He'd have God for his father & never want joy. 


And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark 

And got with our bags & our brushes to work. 

Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm; 

So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm. 



We look forward to seeing you at both the poetry reading and the book discussion. 


Donate to OLLI!

Interested in sponsoring an OLLI Event? If you're interested in sponsoring a lecture, lecture series, one or more study groups, or special event at OLLI, please let us know! These sponsorships can be dedicated to someone special, or in honor of a special person or occasion. For more information, please contact Jennifer Howard at jwhoward@med.umich.edu, or at 734-998-9350.

To make a gift to OLLI's Annual Fund to support OLLI operating costs or to make a gift to the Friends Endowment Fund, please visit our website by clicking the button below.


Interested? OLLI is Forming a Membership Roundtable

During the last two years, despite constant challenges associated with the accommodations and restrictions of the pandemic, our members have been inventive and endlessly accepting of changes.  Staff and volunteers are beyond grateful for the spirit you have brought to these many months. 

As we begin to see light, we would like to explore the profile of our membership which emerged during that time.  Program participation shifted, and we’d like to know what drove that. We lost membership during these months, and we’re interested in knowing what would bring back those members. We believe an influx of new members would enrich our work, and we wonder what programs and opportunities would bring them to us. 

We’re inviting those of you who are interested in exploring these member issues to let us know you’re ready to be a part of our Membership Roundtable. It will be limited initially to 20 people. We will work in collaboration with staff and include current members, a few previous members and volunteer leadership.  The Roundtable will meet through zoom – and perhaps in person eventually -- four times.  Our first meeting will be Friday February 11 from 2 – 3:30pm. Three meetings will follow – on February 25, March 11 and March 25. All will be from 2 – 3:30pm. 

Our task will encompass review of membership related data, identification of possible explanations for those data, generation of actions and recommendation of plans for how those actions can be accomplished. The Membership Roundtable will present its work to the Leadership Council at its April 20th meeting. 

If you’re interested in being a part of this discussion, email Lynn Boyer, OLLI Leadership Council President, at lynnboyer10@gmail.com.  The subject line -- Count Me In!


The OLLI Development Committee is looking for new members!

Please let us know if you are interested in this exciting opportunity. For those who have an interest or experience in fundraising for non-profits, this committee offers an opportunity to find alternative means of funding for OLLI programs and activities.

Contact Susan Fisher, srf@ameritech.net

The OLLI Lecture Committee is looking for new members!

IF you want to join other interested and motivated OLLI members in finding and presenting extraordinary speakers on a variety of different topics — health, politics, the arts, international affairs, or…


IF you want to be part of the OLLI Distinguished Lecture Series, joining others in identifying and selecting highly respected, prestigious individual monthly speakers renowned for their knowledge and effective presentation style, on a wide variety of topics, or…


IF you want to work with others on an OLLI Subcommittee Lecture Series presenting individual respected speakers in six in-depth presentations about a current topic of interest in various social, political, environmental or geographic areas…


YOU should consider becoming an OLLI Lecture Committee Member.

Looking for Afternoons with OLLI Chair!

Afternoons with OLLI, a vibrant and engaged group is looking for a chair! Join a very active group that enjoys planning events (that will move to evenings in the spring) that explore Ann Arbor and Michigan featuring local personalities, interesting places and highlight compelling stories and current issues in our community.

For more information, please contact Lynn Boyer at lynnboyer10@gmail.com.

OLLI Special Projects Committee is currently recruiting volunteers!

Looking for a fun and stimulating volunteer opportunity and a way to contribute? Join the Special Projects Committee, the OLLI "New Program Incubator". This is the committee that developed the Climate Change series, the COVID series, Torn from the Headlines, OLLI @home and OLLI Reads. Join us if you like generating new program ideas and making them happen. 

Contact Jane Spinner at jspinner@umich.edu or Laurie Barnett at lcbarn@comcast.net if interested or to get additional information.

OLLI is Always Looking for Volunteers for Committees

There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities at OLLI - We need you!

Please contact Lynn Boyer on more ways to get involved:



Do You Have a Story To Tell?

Are you interested in the art of storytelling? Sign up for a free virtual storytelling workshop on January 15th! This workshop is open to those who want to submit their story for the Big Hearts for Seniors May 17th event Big Hearted Stories: Journeys and for those interested in storytelling in general.

The Big Hearts for Seniors Artistic Directors Breeda Miller and Brian Cox, will teach attendees tips on how to shape their true-life experiences into a captivating story.

Virtual Storyteller Workshop

Saturday, January 15, 2022


Register Here

Save the Date! Big Hearted Stories: Journeys

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

7:00 p.m.

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre and Michigan League

Ann Arbor

Visit the Big Hearts for Seniors website for information on the storyteller submission process and the 2022 event. Prospective storytellers can submit their story through February 25th. For updates leading up to the event, follow us on Facebook! 

On May 27, 2021, Big Hearts for Seniors presented Big Hearted Stories: Generations, which raised over $40,000. View our 2021 event here.


Big Hearts for Seniors Benefits:

Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels

Housing Bureau for Seniors

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Silver Club Memory Programs

Turner Senior Wellness Program



Part of the U-M Turner Senior Wellness Program


Do you like making new friends? Looking to connect with other people in the community while remaining socially distant? Would you enjoy chatting with a peer on a periodic basis? 


During COVID-19 times, we’ve all been a bit more isolated and have had a hard time connecting with folks. The Turner Senior Wellness Program offers a companionship program called “Connected Companions,” where we seek to bring people together through virtual means. Our volunteers can give you a call, send you emails, or link up with you remotely on a recurring basis. 


If you are a senior individual in the Washtenaw County area, perhaps live alone or feel in need of a companion, and would like to have a friendly visitor and virtual buddy, we welcome you to join our program! We will match you up with one of our friendly volunteers who will contact you at a frequency of your preference! This is a great opportunity to feel connected to other seniors in our community and to make a new friend!


If you would enjoy having a “phone pal”, mingling, and building meaningful relationships, and are interested in signing up for this program, please reach out to:


Adriana Cardenas | (209) 614-4274 | adcarden@med.umich.edu

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If you would like more information about Michigan Medicine resources during this challenging time, please click the button below.

COVID-19 Resources

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan

2401 Plymouth Road, Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2193

Telephone (734) 998-9351

Contact Us