Celebrating 20 Years!

Celebrating 20 Years!


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is a group of more than 1,000 individuals, age 50 and over, who learn together through three distinct programs: OLLI Classes, OLLI Learning Trips, and OLLI Study Groups.

Here, members can discuss what they learned, what they enjoyed, and offer suggestions to enhance future program offerings.

Take a look at the photos we're taking, and the discussions we're having as OLLI members.

Whether we're in class, in town, or out of town ... we're on the go, having fun, and constantly learning.


We look forward to reading your comments!

While you're online, be sure to visit our website www.bradley.edu/continue/olli to register for our programs.

Don't forget -- OLLI has its own YouTube Channel, where you can see video clips of Learning Trips, Classes, and Study Groups!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

State Farm Headquarters - Thursday, March 12, 2015

OLLI had a unique opportunity to visit insurance giant State Farm's corporate complex in Bloomington. Bill Conway, of State Farm, met us at our first stop giving us a private tour of the original downtown buidling which is the the site of the the company's very first offices and auditorium.

At the Corporate Main Complex we toured the State Farm Museum, historic vehicles, a television studio and the company store. We had lunch in the company cafeteria before heading to our next building. At our last stop, we toured the massive complex that employs 12,000 workers. One OLLI member said her pedometer showed over 3 miles of walking during this tour.

OLLI would like to thank Bill Conway and the entire staff for their warm welcome and wonderful tour of State Farm.

Monday, March 9, 2015

J.K. Williams Distilling - Monday, March 9, 2015

With the cold winter temperatures, OLLI's most recent Learning Trip was quite the exception. The sun was shining and the outside temperature reached the 50's as we toured J.K. Williams Distilling in East Peoria. Jesse Williams and his wife Kassi welcomed OLLI members with a cocktail blended from their signature products such as: Smitty's Apple Pie, J.K.'s Lemmon Whisky, and J.K.'s Blackberry Whiskey.

With cocktails in hand, OLLI members learned about the distillery's history. The Williams family began distilling well-before the 1920s, and became top-name during the prohibition era. After a brief overview of the Williams roots in distilling, we had the opportunity to tour the facility. Our tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling process, as-well as an inside peak at how the product goes from grain to bottle.

OLLI members also quickly discovered that family values are at the core of J.K. Williams' business. Both Williams brothers, their wives, and children are involved in J.K. Williams, including: distilling, bottling, labeling, and marketing the product. James Williams, the great-great grandfather of the Williams brothers, refused to sacrifice quality when crating his bootleg whiskey. In reviving the family recipe four generations later, J.K. Williams continues the family tradition of choosing quality and taste over mass production.

We would like to thank the J.K. Williams Distilling family for welcoming us on another informative and enjoyable OLLI Learning Trip! Click here to visit the J.K. Williams Distilling website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Peoria Brewing Company- Wednesday, March 4, 2015

OLLI participants raise their glasses for a Learning Trip to the Peoria Brewing Company.

Microbreweries have become a popular trend throughout the United States and Peoria is certainly no exception. The Peoria Brewing Company is the most recent microbrewery to have opened its doors in the Peoria area. Found in North Peoria, the Peoria Brewing Company makes large batches of high-quality, super-palatable craft beers with unique names such as Yippy IPA, Honey Do, Moody Cow, and Captain Tony's. With a behind-the-scenes tour, OLLI members learned how three local friends worked together to start a brewing company that has become the talk of the town.

The Learning Trip kicked off with an overview of the brewing company presented by Christian Payne and Todd Hayes, co-owners of the company. Todd made his home brew debut in the late 80's and over time his craft brewing skills improved exponentially. By 2010, Todd was making high-quality craft beers that consumers truly enjoyed.

After further experimentation and in partnership with Doug Cekander, local owner of 10 Buffalo Wild Wings in Central Illinois, Christian and Todd opened the doors of the Peoria Brewing Company in September of 2014. The brewing company now makes craft beers like the spicy “Crazy Jane” and the smooth and flavorful “Erik the Red." There seems to be something available at the Peoria Brewing Company for all types of beer drinkers.

OLLI members not only learned about the history and development of the brewing company, but they got to taste some of the craft beer selections. Participants seemed to enjoy the taste of the locally brewed beer. You combine drinking tasty craft beer with an educational experience and how can one go wrong. OLLI would like to thank Doug, Payne and Todd for welcoming us to the Peoria Brewing Company. Thank you for making Peoria proud.

Heddington Oaks- Monday, March 2, 2015

OLLI kicked off the month of March with a visit to Heddington Oaks, an elder care facility that replaced county-owned Belwood Nursing Home. Heddington Oaks is located in West Peoria and is a state-of-the-art facility that offers secure housing for 80 Alzheimer’s patients.

Executive Director Matt Nieukirk and the staff at Heddington Oaks were very welcoming as OLLI was greeted upon entering. Matt explained that men and women who live at Heddington Oaks help make decisions about their health plan, diet, daily schedule, and social activities. In addition to experienced, compassionate medical professionals, they have a registered dietician, activities and social services assistants, and over 200 volunteers that also offer compassion and support.

The afternoon concluded with a panel discussion with representatives from the county’s TRIAD program, a safety organization that focuses on reducing crime victimization of seniors. OLLI participants were able to ask a number of questions in regards to local efforts being made to ensure seniors are protected in a number of ways.

We would like to thank Matt Nieukirk, his staff, and members of the TRIAD program for dedicating their time and spending the afternoon with OLLI.

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