An Afternoon with Naomi Judd - OLLI at University of Alabama in Huntsville
Exploring Society Through Photography - OLLI at Santa Clara University
Host It and They Will Come - OLLI at University of Alabama
Be a Scientist for a Day - OLLI at Granite State College
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Greetings from the NRC    Sep 2015 15
Preparations for the 2015 Osher Institute National Conference are going well. Practically every OLLI director has pitched in - quickly registering; sending bios, photos and videos; assisting volunteer participants with travel arrangements; offering to present, facilitate or mentor. Additionally, a number of OLLI volunteer leaders will participate in panels and presentations, importantly bringing the member/leader perspective to our Conference sessions. On behalf of Stacey Hart and Diane Venzera, our sincere thanks.  While we are not completely ready at
Kali Lightfoot
this writing (with about six weeks as our remaining runway), we are very pleased with the arrangements and session planning. Undoubtedly, it will be an exciting conference.
As part of my personal conference preparation, I have consulted not only a number of you, but also two of our former NRC colleagues: Kali Lightfoot and Anne Cardale. I've had the distinct pleasure of dining with both of these friends separately during the past few months while on trips back to Maine. As you would expect, both offered wise and creative ideas on how we might structure the conference and both send their best to "the network". I must add, these talented ladies are keeping themselves very busy and enjoying the summer.
This September 2015 edition of the Osher Institute Newsletter includes articles on innovative programming ideas. Last month I briefly mentioned the fine work of OLLI at The University of Alabama as hosts of the Southern Regional Conference on Learning in Retirement. This month, reflections by Tory Shumpert, provide more details of that successful event.
All our best wishes for the Labor Day weekend as you briefly pause before the fall term begins.
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director
NRC for Osher Institutes 

OLLI at University of Alabama in Huntsville
An Afternoon with Naomi Judd

News Anchor Liz Hurley interviews Naomi Judd
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (OLLI at UAH) began a memorable annual 2015/2016 membership drive with assistance from country music star, songwriter, actress, author, activist, and fellow OLLI member Naomi Judd on Wednesday, July 15 at Huntsville Alabama's Jackson Conference Center. 

After Bob Darnall, OLLI at UAH president, recognized sponsors, elected officials, and VIP guests, UAH president, Dr. Robert Altenkirch welcomed more than 450 attendees to An Afternoon with Naomi Judd. Attendees enjoyed a delightful lunch followed by Naomi's motivational interchange with award-winning local news anchor Liz Hurley.  As she responded to questions, Naomi provided fascinating insights, delivered with ease and humor, about how she used her indomitable spirit to transcend hardship and create breakthroughs in her life - first in the music business, and later in her health as she recovered from Hepatitis C.  Naomi's wellness advocacy, incorporating the mind, body, and spirit, resonated with OLLI members. They heard about the benefits of joining OLLI at UAH - where a vibrant learning community, designed for adults 50+, is interested in staying intellectually and socially active, while having lots of fun!

Because of outstanding sponsors from the community, a vibrant OLLI at UAH volunteer organization, and the support of the UAH leadership, An Afternoon with Naomi Judd, was an outstanding success.  The event provided a wonderful opportunity for OLLI at UAH to showcase its membership benefits, upcoming fall term courses, and its many opportunities for social interaction.  

Submitted by: Maxine Doherty, OLLI at University of Alabama in Huntsville 

OLLI at Santa Clara University
Exploring Society Through Photography

Sharing Stories
Exploring Society through Photography is an undergraduate course taught by Renee Billingslea that engaged undergraduate students with members of the community in an outreach project through meaningful conversation and connection. Members of OLLI at Santa Clara University were invited to participate, and both students and seniors were rewarded with a deeper understanding and appreciation of their new cross-generational friend. Billingslea emphasizes "much of their learning comes from reflections on their individual community-based experiences, which, when brought into the classroom, enhance the students' understanding of photography as a vehicle for connecting with others and to recognizing social issues in the community."
Through a series of meetings the students collected information, stories and life experiences of their subjects and wove a narrative script, music, and images into a fascinating "portrait" of their new friend. The students worked in concert with the Theatre Department to script and edit the images and story. The end result was a three-minute iMovie that was insightful, fun, professional and creative. Participants were given copies of their photos along with a copy of their "movie," a digital portrait produced by their new undergraduate friend.

Renee will also be teaching a studio course on digital photography this Spring quarter for Osher Institute members.

Submitted by: Carol Lindsay, OLLI at Santa Clara University  

OLLI at University of Alabama
Host It and They Will Come 
The Southern Regional Conference on Learning in Retirement was held at The University of Alabama's Bryant Conference Center July 28-30, 2015. The event kicked off Tuesday evening with a wine and cheese reception at the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, showcasing the famed Westervelt Collection. Guests packed the conference center Wednesday morning for a down-home southern breakfast before listening to the trials and triumphs of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee Jeremiah Castille. Castille encouraged the crowd to finish strong and to give a little more effort every day to make a difference in the world around us.

Attendees laughed out loud as Seattle native and College of Continuing Studies dean Dr. Craig Edelbrock recalled being told to, "Go to Hale" in his best impersonation of local southern drawl. Once fed, inspired, and entertained, guests headed to breakout sessions on grant funding, increasing diversity, and effective partnerships. Day Two concluded at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall, for the Taste of Alabama Reception.

Jennifer Anderson, OLLI at UA director and conference planner, stated, "We are excited to have hosted such a great crowd. We had great vendors, and people came from all over the country to learn with us this week." More than 160 participants came together for the conference, and some learned a little extra Alabama history during the visit. At the close of the conference, buses loaded up for a field trip to walk across historical Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. After the walk, they visited the Voter's Rights Institute and the Selma Interpretive Center, followed by a tour of local antebellum homes.

When asked why the College of Continuing Studies was so adamant about hosting events like this, Dean Edelbrock replied, "Lifelong learning is a big part of our college mission and, of course, in everything we do at UA as we strive to be leaders.  Hosting and supporting this conference at UA puts us at the forefront of leadership in lifelong learning regionally and nationally."

Submitted by: Tory Sumpert, OLLI at University of Alabama

OLLI at Granite State College 
Be a Scientist for a Day
Our adventure began at 8:30am when the UNH Marine docents began appearing in the parking lot. Tentative smiles were offered, as they greeted their 24 largely gray and white haired passengers. We boarded the UNH Gulf Challenger, a Sea Grant working research vessel and proceeded out to the Piscataqua river. 

Within a few minutes, the Captain and Mate had given us our safety instructions and held us relatively stationary against the current. We broke into our stations where three of the on-board docents led us through hands-on collection tasks for recording ocean temperature, water clarity, oxygen level and ph level. 

As we performed these tasks, the docents explained why these measurements were needed and what they indicated. They also told us that we would be repeating these measurements when we reached the inner parts of the Great Bay Estuary. We would then compare the two sets of readings to see what assumptions could be gleaned from the data. 

While en route up the Great Bay Estuary, the Sea Grant community coordinator introduced us to some of the more common shoreline and estuarial flora and fauna - oysters, clams, mussels, periwinkles, eel grass, seaweed, black grass, etc. This segued into the challenges being brought about by climatic stresses and how engineers, shoreline advocates, homeowners, municipalities, farmers and others with skin in the game can all become cooperative players in saving these increasingly fragile shorelines. 

In addition to the "learning" was the "fun of it," enjoying a beautiful day out on the sea with great companions as the OLLI class and Sea Grant staff became a blended bunch enjoying each other's company, talking, laughing, and learning together.   


Submitted by: Bruce Baxter,  OLLI at Granite State College

NRC Updates

  Charlotte, NC - October 2015
conferenceNational Conference Update

Check the NRC website for National Conference updates including:

  • The 2015 Osher Institute National Conference will commence at 4pm on Monday, October 12th, with the registration table opening at 2pm. 
  • We've got a surprise in store for you, but we need your help! The NRC is asking each Osher Institute to submit a 3-4 second video greeting saying hello to your OLLI friends around the country. Help your OLLI shine at this year's conference. If you have any questions about this, email Diane at Diane.Venzera@Northwestern.edu
  • Thank you to everyone who registered online for the conference. If you have not done so already, remember to send your short 100 word bio and headshot photo to Stacey at Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu
  • Wondering where you're headed? Here's a link to the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, NC. Check out these beautiful hotels:      

 basecamp Find an Osher Institute Near You

Did you know that you can download the data from the Find an Osher Institute Near You google map on the NRC website?  

Follow these simple steps:


  • Click on Find an Osher Institute Near You in the top search bar of the National Resource Center website
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the map and click on "Export the map data"

    The map data including Osher Institute name, phone number, and website should automatically download to your computer in an Excel spreadsheet

  • The OLLI Insider

    An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
    dearolliDear Olli

    Dear Olli,

    So what happened with that little survey you were doing on your pen name?

    Sincerely, Just Wondering 

    Dear Just Wondering,

    With the ballot counted on 8/31/15, the winning nom de plume is a familiar one: "Olli" - intentionally in upper and lower case, please. Here are the results:

    But there were a number of creative ideas for names besides "Olli" and "Hoot". Here are just a few of those: "Owlie" and "Hootie". Now don't be surprised if you notice that I call upon some of my wise-owl cousins in future months to help me answer your perplexing questions. And wouldn't you know...some of those suggested names just happen to be the names of my cousins! Thanks to those who cast their votes.

    With best wishes, Olli


    Dear Olli,

    Do you happen to have knowledge of some weather almanac data for Charlotte, NC surrounding the dates of our 2015 National Conference? 

    Thank you, Eyes to the Sky 

    Dear Eyes,

    As a bird of many talents, meteorology is one of my specialties. Traditionally, Charlotte, NC has beautiful fall days in October. Sunrise will be at 7:30am eastern standard time; average daytime high for these days hovers around 73 degrees Fahrenheit; night-time lows average 50 degrees; precipitation average for the full month is 3.39 inches; and, sunset will be around 6:50pm. Don't forget to bring a light jacket for your morning constitutional and for an evening stroll around the beautiful grounds of the Ballantyne Conference Center. 

    Safe Travels, Olli

    Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu 

    Educational Travel Ideas from In and Outside the OLLI Network
    The OLLI Traveler
    OLLI at Bradley University
    Baseball and Beer: An Historical Perspective
    Keith Butterfield, OLLI treasurer and facilitator of last season's study group on baseball, will provide insight on both baseball and beer as we travel to St. Louis to tour Busch Stadium and the Anheuser-Busch brewery. We'll take in the view from the Radio Broadcast Booth, see the World Series trophies in the Champions Club, and sit in the Cardinals Dugout. We'll also see the Cardinals Museum, with seven galleries and one of the largest team-specific collections of artifacts and memorabilia in the world. After lunch, we'll head to the historic Soulard neighborhood to visit Anheuser-Busch's largest and oldest brewery, enjoy a private tour of the Historical Schoolhouse Museum, and visit three historic landmarks: the Clydesdale Stables, Brewhouse, and the Old Lyon School House, which features nearly 400 never-before-seen historical items from Anheuser-Busch's archives. After the tour, we'll relax in the Biergarten for a complimentary tasting of Anheuser-Busch products.   Click here for more information.
    Dates: Sep 29, 2015

    OLLI at the University of Nebraska Lincoln Branson Holiday Tour
    Hop on the Holiday Express to Branson
    Branson has so much to offer in holiday entertainment. Here's your chance to enjoy it prior to the annual Branson holiday rush and it's scheduled before your own busy holiday season begins. Seven shows in four days! Join your OLLI friends for this classic entertainment experience. We will board our motorcoach at a convenient Lincoln location for an early departure for Branson. These performers are our list of scheduled entertainment: Clay Cooper's Country Express, Dublin's Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies, The musical "Puttin' on the Ritz", The Osmonds and the Lennon Sisters, Doug Grabriel, The Letterman, and Johnny Mathis. Click here for more information.
    Dates: Nov 11 - 14, 2015

    OLLI at Iowa State University Patagonia
    Passage to Patagonia and the Antarctic
    Adventure meets culture and natural beauty on this 18-night cruise of Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia aboard award-winning Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony. Discover this "bucket-list" destination filled with opportunities that will invigorate and delight. Circumnavigate Cape Horn and traverse the Drake Passage as you sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean aboard the Six-Star Crystal Symphony. Along the way, discover pristine beauty and abundant wildlife as well as fascinating ports of call. Discover the geography of the region -unspoiled waterfalls, rugged mountains, stunning fjords and glaciers - as explorers did centuries ago. Come embrace a land of soul-stirring beauty and curious creatures on an epic journey through this staggering expanse. Crystal Cruises is world-renowned for excellence, with its award-winning entertainment, specialty restaurants, classes and expert speakers. Click here for more information.
    Dates: Jan 26 - Feb 15, 2016

    Interesting Facts to Know and Talk About
    didyouknowDid You Know...?
    • 58% of older adults have not changed residences in more than 20 years and 75% intend to stay in their current home for the rest of their lives.  
    • 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of three landmark programs that have been of benefit to seniors throughout the nation - Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act (Senator Susan Collins, SeniorSource Newsletter, Aug 2015). 
    • Studies show that video games that encourage physical activity also help with depression, sense of place and relevancy.

      Career Openings in the OLLI Network
    jobboardJob Board

    Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    University of Las Vegas, Nevada

    Program Coordinator, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    Brandeis University