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, July 24, 2009

Peoria Journal Star -- July 16, 2009

OLLI member Bernie Drake wore two hats -- one literally -- during our tour of the Peoria Journal Star. Bernie, a longtime OLLI member who also volunteers as a PJS tour guide, led our group on a visit to the building.

Peoria's newspaper history started on December 10, 1855 as the Peoria Daily Transcript. In 1954, the the Peoria Star and Peoria Transcript merged to form the Journal Star, and was housed in the building still located at One News Plaza.

At one time, more than 100 people worked in the newsroom as reporters, editors, artists, and photographers (there are approximately 65 people in the newsroom today). Advertising accounts for 75% of the newspaper's revenue. The new Man Roland press began production in the new 64,000 square-foot press room on October 25, 2004. The press can produce up to 70,000 newspapers per hour.

OLLI would like to thank John Plevka, managing editor, for taking the time to speak with us at the end of our tour. We enjoyed learning about the editorial process, issues facing print journalism in today's society, and the advent of internet news.

For more information about the Peoria Journal Star, please visit www.pjstar.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Springdale Picnic & Concert -- July 10, 2009

It’s an annual tradition – the OLLI summer social.

This year, however, we added a bit of a twist. We started the social with an early evening tour of historic Springdale Cemetery, the resting place of many Peoria legends, including Bradley University founder Lydia Moss Bradley. OLLI member Bernie Drake and Peoria Historical Society President Marilyn Leyland were our docents for the outstanding tour.

After the tour, we gathered at Glen Oak Park for a gourmet picnic dinner, trivia, and croquet. We ended the evening with a first-of-its-kind concert at Springdale by the Peoria Municipal Band.

Chicago Bike & Hike -- July 8, 2009

In this first-of-its-kind trip, we traveled to Chicago to learn about the city … on bike and on foot!

The day started with a leisurely biking tour of lakefront neighborhoods, where we got a peek at Gold Coast mansions, Oprah’s home, the former Playboy Mansion, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Old Town Historic District.

Our tour guide, Scott, made many stops along the way for photos, water breaks, and interesting stories about these Windy City landmarks.

After lunch at Lizzie McNeill’s (we had to sit inside due to the inclement weather), we headed to Michigan Avenue for a private, early evening walking tour of Chicago’s historic skyscrapers.

Docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation took us in and around several world famous early skyscrapers, including the Rookery, which boasts a restored Frank Lloyd Wright interior.

Fired Up -- June 30, 2009

Art helps everyone learn, and the owners of Fired Up, a paint-your-own pottery and art studio, showed us how they have turned their passion for learning into a successful business in downtown Peoria Heights.

After the tour, OLLI members (and their younger guests) had two hours of private studio time to paint – and keep – their own pottery mugs. After working up an appetite with our creative work, we walked next door to Emack & Bolio’s for a delicious ice cream treat.

It was an afternoon of intergenerational learning at its best!

Spirit of Peoria with Dr. Michael Wiant -- June 27, 2009

More than 60 participants marked another OLLI first -- a summer learning trip!

We spent a beautiful summer afternoon cruising along the picturesque Illinois River on the state’s only authentic paddle-wheeler, the Spirit of Peoria.

During the two-hour excursion, which included a full buffet lunch, Dr. Michael Wiant, Dickson Mounds Museum Director, gave an exclusive presentation on the Illinois River.

His fascinating stories about cultural, historical, and geological events helped to illustrate the character of the Illinois River and trace its interaction with the people who have lived along it.

A Midsummer Night's Dream -- June 25, 2009

OLLI was front and center at the opening night gala of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Young lovers, spirits, and mythic royalty were conjured up in an enticing mix of poetry, wide-eyed fairy magic, and the madness of love in Shakespeare's most popular comedy. It portrayed the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, and with the fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Dr. Susan Hillabold, who taught a Shakespeare class for OLLI Winterim ’09, accompanied our group to enrich our understanding of the play’s subtleties. She gave us some hints of what to look for before the performance, and then summarized some of the complexities on the way home.

At the venue, we enjoyed a gourmet catered picnic dinner, a personalized backstage tour by the actors, a pre-performance jazz show, and the performance itself. It was a warm evening, but another great OLLI night!

182nd Airlift Wing -- June 23, 2009

Day in and day out, C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft leave Peoria destined for locations all over the world. Whether delivering humanitarian supplies to Hurricane Katrina victims or air dropping food and ammunition in the middle of the night to our Special Operations Forces engaged throughout Afghanistan in the Global War on Terror, the citizen-airmen of the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria Air National Guard, are always proudly representing the Heart of Illinois.

During our visit, OLLI had a chance to see some of these professionals in action as we toured the maintenance, operations, and security facilities. The base houses 38 buildings on 334 leased acres -- property worth over $120 million (without counting the equipment). Over 600 members of the 182nd have toured more than 13 countries in varying theatres since 2001. In fact, after this year's devastating earthquake in Iran, a plane from Peoria (carrying humanitarian supplies) was the first American aircraft to land in the country in several decades.

Colonel William Robertson ('83), the Wing Commander, also provided an aircraft tour and presented a short briefing about the 182nd Airlift Wing's missions involving the global war on terror, humanitarian support, and homeland security missions.

OLLI thanks Col. Robertson and his incredible staff for a wonderful day of learning. For more information about the 182nd Airlift Wing, please visit: www.182aw.ang.af.mil

Monday, July 13, 2009

Geology Hike -- June 19, 2009

During our most active trip yet, OLLI enjoyed a spectacular day of outdoor adventure in Utica led by Ed Stermer, assistant professor of earth science at Illinois Central College.

Our first stop was Buffalo Rock State Park, located on a bluff which was once an island in the Illinois River. Now standing majestically on the north bank, this 280-acre promontory afforded a magnificent sweeping view of the Illinois River. While exploring, we learned about the geologic history and mineral resources of the region.

After an hour at Buffalo Rock, we headed to the Starved Rock Lock & Dam Visitors’ Center, where we spent an hour meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and touring their facility.

After absorbing a wealth of knowledge at the visitors' center, we drove to the Starved Rock Lodge for a delicious hot buffet lunch. OLLI had the chance to see preparations for a Friday afternoon wedding at the lodge, and some of us did a bit of quick shopping at the gift shop, too.

We then hit the trails within Starved Rock to visit and discuss the 18 canyons that sliced dramatically through tree-covered, sandstone bluffs. We saw and learned more about the park’s rock formations, primarily St. Peter Sandstone, the historic site of the siege, starvation, and demise of the entire Illini tribe.

Our final stop was a bit of fossil hunting just off the highway, where many members found rocks with embedded remnants of insects and other fossils. Many thanks to Ed Stermer for his fabulous commentary and guidance during our adventure.

Wildlife Prairie Park -- June 10, 2009

OLLI’s first hiking trip was an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Wildlife Prairie State Park, a 2,000-acre zoological park just outside of Peoria.

More than a dozen members joined us on the walking trails for an hour-long guided hike. We stopped at the various animal exhibits, and learned about the native plant and animal species, the bison and elk pasture, and the Sandhill Cranes in Walden Pond.

After a short break, we enjoyed an informative birds of prey exhibition followed by a personalized, behind-the-scenes look at the educational animals used at the park. The park’s staff showed us how they feed and care for the animals, explained how they rehabilitate injured birds, and provided opportunities to see individual animal enclosures.

Afterward, we had the unique opportunity to be the first group served lunch at the new Prairie Grille at the park. The lunch was delicious, and the chef and staff are to be commended for the attention to our OLLI members.

For more information, visit Wildlife Prairie State Park on the web:

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