Newt Minow - A Rookie at 96
Newton and Mary Minow
In 1986, Newton Minow was a visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School while helping create the Commission on Presidential Debates. Every day, he passed by a building with the sign “The Institute for Learning and Retirement.” Curious, he stopped in and was immediately intrigued by the program, which provided classes taught by group members themselves. An active trustee of Northwestern University at the time, he later met with then-president Arnold Weber and told him about the program. “This would be very good for Northwestern,” Minow recalled telling him. After Minow promised the program would be financially self-supporting if Northwestern put up its buildings, Arnold assented. The program was later rechristened the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute with generous funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation in 2006.
Thirty-five years later, recruited by his daughter, Mary Minow, a Chicago-based library law consultant and active OLLI member, Newt Minow returned to OLLI in the fall to co-coordinate a study group for the first time. Mary proposed, “We should do something with Russian literature,” and Dad said, “That would be War and Peace.” They agreed that they would co-coordinate a study group focused on the newly restored 1960’s Sergei Bondarchuk version of the film. “It just seemed like it was meant to be,” says Mary. “Dad has told me all my life that he wanted to study Russian literature, but he’s just never had time. I don’t know what he’s been doing,” she says, with a laugh, referring to his prolific career as an attorney, former Federal Communications Commission chair, original PBS founder, author, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other achievements. The Minows coordinated the OLLI study group with the help of co-coordinators Stuart Applebaum and Donald DeRoche. Despite his longstanding support of OLLI, Newt admits to being surprised by the diversity and sophistication present in the group. “We’ve got these incredible experienced people from all walks of life,” he says. The group includes film majors and a music specialist with expertise in the balalaika, all of whom bring their experience to the discussion. “I know that there are so many online educational opportunities, but really what attracts us to OLLI is that it’s so participatory,” says Mary. “I have found that I learn much more than I’ve contributed,” agrees Newt. “And Dad’s 96,” adds Mary. “When he says, ‘lifelong learning,’ he means it.”

Read a longer version of this article by OLLI at Northwestern University.
Submitted by: Kari Fagin, Director, OLLI at Northwestern University
OLLI Times Magazine
In 2020, OLLI at Stony Brook University formed a committee to produce a magazine for their members. The purpose of the magazine is to inform, illuminate, inspire, and invite OLLI members to participate more fully in all aspects of the program by showcasing their many talents. The magazine features articles by, about, and of interest to members: writings (fiction, poetry, non-fiction), interviews, visuals (art, cartoons, photography), reviews (books, movies, etc.).

The inaugural edition of the OLLI Times was published in 2021. While it was originally envisioned as a “fit for print only” piece, due to the various types of participation opportunities OLLI at Stony Brook offers, the magazine is available in both a digital format as well as print. This first edition even includes a special section, Journal of the Pandemic- A Year Like No Other: How We Coped, in which members share their personal stories of life with COVID-19. Perhaps other OLLIs will read it and be inspired to produce a magazine such as the OLLI Times from Stony Brook University, Long Island New York.

Submitted by: Elizabeth Wilson, Member Relations Assistant, OLLI at Stony Brook University
"Flying Tigers" in China: 80th Anniversary
In December, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of South Florida (OLLI-USF) celebrated the 80th anniversary of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) known as the “Flying Tigers.” Organized by SIG leader partners Kun Shi and Nancy Stuart, in collaboration with USF World, this virtual gathering brought together more than 100 people including OLLI members, community members, and family members of the “Flying Tigers.”

The “Flying Tigers” fought its first air battle with the Japanese over China in December of 1941. This group included both American and Chinese service members and civilians. Over the next three and a half years, this group of volunteer pilots brought weaponry and other war-time goods to China to help in the effort to bring World War II to a victorious conclusion in Asia. 

The virtual event, the largest of its kind at OLLI-USF, honored World War II heroes and provided historical context to the importance of this group. The two keynote speakers were Major General Arthur Clark, who served in China from 1944 to 1945, and Major Daniel Jackson, a military historian and United States Air Force active-duty officer. 

Submitted by: Ara Rogers, Director, OLLI at University of South Florida 
Ask Olli
Dear Olli,
I serve as a volunteer on the curriculum committee for my Osher Institute. We are looking to expand or change some of our typical offerings in an effort to increase our appeal to new members. Any suggestions?
~OLLI Volunteer

Dear OLLI Volunteer,
Yes, the Osher NRC has many curriculum resources available to help generate ideas. First, on Osher.net, under the resources tab, you’ll find Curriculum Resources. The links on this page will provide you with materials or organizations that can aid you in your idea generation for future classes. Second, the NRC compiles data of the national network through our National Membership Survey. In the survey we ask members about their primary areas of interest. Above is a chart showing the areas of most interest for 2018 and 2020. Finally, most OLLIs have their catalogs available on their website. Do some research and check out what other OLLIs are offering. There is a plethora of unique ideas out there!

Have a question for Olli? Please send it to Oshernrc@northwestern.edu
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