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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Monday, November 30, 2009

Riverfront Heritage: Le Vieux Carre -- November 18, 2009

Pat Sullivan, local developer and co-owner of JP Companies, gave OLLI members a private, behind-the-scenes look at one of the crown jewels of Peoria's Riverfront, Le Vieux Carre ("the old quarter").

He purchased the building nearly 10 years ago and has developed it into a commercial and residential hotspot which features Kelleher's Pub, a piano bar, several offices of start-up businesses, and loft-style condominiums.

Many thanks to Pat for taking time out of his very busy schedule to give OLLI a unique look at his efforts to develop the riverfront.

All Along the Hilltop -- November 19, 2009

Did you like this video? If so, check out the OLLI at BU channel here!

On OLLI's last learning trip of the fall, we stayed in our own "backyard" and took a guided tour of the Bradley University campus.

Our tour was led by Phil, a Bradley undergraduate student and member of the Student Admission Representative (STAR) team. We began the tour with a behind-the-scenes look at the broadcast studio in the Global Communications Center. Professor (and local journalist) Bob Jacobs talked about his work with up-and-coming producers, and showed clips of their Emmy-winning features on WEEK-TV.

Next, we visited Olin Hall, where Professor Dean Campbell led the group through the chemistry labs and facilitated an "eye-opening" experiment (see video). OLLI also toured the Cullom-Davis Library, Markin Family Recreation Center, Jobst Hall, Michel Student Center, and the Visitor's Center.

Many thanks to the Admissions Office for coordinating the campus tour!

Art Doubleheader -- November 17, 2009

OLLI members got a double dose of local art during our visit to a pair of art studios for private tours and demonstrations.

We first traveled to McNeil Pottery, located in the former Murray's Building in downtown Peoria. During the demonstration, Jerry McNeil told the group that he discovered his passion for pottery at age 17, and sold his first piece (to a stranger) at age 22. After that, he used his self-taught marketing skills and validations from other artists to open his own studio in 1992.

In a typical day, he can make 3-4 vases or 8-10 bowls. Most of his work is commissioned from the Peoria area, but he also sells to galleries in Galena, Iowa City, and has done custom-ordered pieces for people from Italy, England, and Scotland.

Our second stop was the glass blowing studio owned by Hiram Toraason, an OLLI favorite. He talked about his education at Southern Illinois University and subsequent art experience in Asheville, North Carolina. His passion for glass art brought him back to Central Illinois, where he is currently remodeling a new studio on Evans Street.

During his demonstration, he created a large bowl made from transparent and opaque colored glass.

Many thanks to Jerry McNeil and Hiram Toraason for opening their studios to OLLI!

The Future of Journalism -- November 12, 2009

Did you like these videos? If so, check out the OLLI at BU channel here!

In our second intergenerational adventure of 2009, OLLI members and BU undergrads took a trip to Chicago to learn more about the future of journalism.

Led Bradley Communications Chairman Dr. Paul Gullifor and his colleague, Dr. Sara Netzley, OLLI took tours of the WGN-TV studios, watched a live broadcast of the midday news, met meterologist Tom Skilling, and visited the newsroom and studios of WBBM-AM 780.

During the drive to Chicago, the students teamed up with OLLI members to take a journalism quiz, debate the merits of pay-as-you-go internet news, and discussed their job outlooks during these tough economic times. Dr. Netzley also presented an interesting take on how these two generations get their news by showing clips of The Daily Show and The Glenn Beck Show.

Thanks to Dr. Gullifor and Dr. Netzley for coordinating a highly interesting and educational day.

Wyatt, Weavers, and The Works -- November 4, 2009

Did you like this video? If so, check out the OLLI at BU channel here!

Monmouth, Illinois was the location of this learning trip, as we discovered more about the birthplace of Wyatt Earp, the artisians at the Buchanan Art Center and Maple City Pottery, and the history bursting at the seams at the Soda Works.

Our first stop was the Monmouth Soda Works, a restaurant housed in an historic downtown building. Janet Gaskill, owner of the restaurant, talked about her restoration efforts within the structure, which features a one-room schoolhouse on the second level and a 1949 Dodge that was sold at the site when it housed Martin Motor Sales in the 1940s.

We then visited the birthplace of Wyatt Earp, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The house, built in 1841, is one of the oldest homes in the city and features early pioneer Greek Revival construction.

After watching the Tromp As Writ Weavers Guild work on their looms in the Buchanan Arts Center, we headed back downtown for a private demonstration at Maple City Pottery. The employees showed us how they fashion the crocks by hand, then kiln fire and salt glaze them for a durable exterior finish.

For more information about our Day in Monmouth, visit these websites: Monmouth Soda Works, Wyatt Earp Birthplace, Buchanan Center, and Maple City Pottery.

Behind the Broadway Curtain -- November 7, 2009

OLLI headed north on a crisp fall day to enjoy a theater tour and performance of "Young Frankenstein."

Upon arrival, we took a one-hour private tour of the Cadillac Palace Theater in downtown Chicago. Our guides led us through the 83-year-old building, noting its importance on the legendary vaudeville Orpheum Circuit. The building was designed by legendary architects (Rapp Brothers), and features a lobby with decorative mirrors, white marble, gold leaf, and wood decorations.

The 2,500-seat venue was the site for our matinee performance of "Young Frankenstein." The musical comedy by Mel Brooks had OLLI members in stitches as they followed young Dr. Frankenstein's attempts to complete his grandfather's vision of bringing a corpse to life.

For more information about our tour and performance, visit the websites of Broadway in Chicago and Young Frankenstein the Musical.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dixon's -- November 3, 2009

Did you like this video? If so, check out the OLLI at BU channel here!

In early November, we headed to East Peoria to learn more about another local favorite, Dixon's Fisheries.

During our tour, manager Jason Livingston described the history of the locally owned producer and wholesaler of fresh fish. We learned how the company, now in its fourth generation of operation, uses modern processing methods, aqua farming, and worldwide transportation systems to continue its tradition of supplying quality seafood products to customers around the planet.

We also had a chance to see employees at work filleting fish, packaging orders, and gathering inventory from the freezers and coolers. Antonio, a 14-year-veteran at Dixon's, showed us many of the varieties of fish they were shipping across the midwest, including a 380-pound swordfish, a macko shark, yellow fin tuna, and striped bass.

Dixon's purchases its inventory from brokers around the world, and once purchased seafood from the crew that was dramatized in the movie "The Perfect Storm." The company sells and ships its seafood six days a week; in fact, over 1,000 pounds of seabass and 5,000 pounds of salmon alone are sold each week!

OLLI thanks Jason and his friendly co-workers at Dixon's for providing an educational tour. For more information, please visit Dixon's website.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Behind the Music -- October 30, 2009

Did you like these videos? If so, check out the OLLI at BU channel here!

On October 30, OLLI traveled to Don's Musicland in Peoria for a private, behind-the-scenes visit with owner Don Middleton.

Middleton, who opened his store 41 years ago, gave us a tour of the 9,500 square-foot facility, which includes seven studios. His store has the largest music book selection in downstate Illinois -- during our visit, he had more than 1,300 books from which to choose.

Other highlights of the tour included demonstrations of the Beamz interactive music device, which interacts with a computer to play hundreds of types of songs, all controlled with hand movements. Members of Don's staff also showed off the new digital pianos, guitar selection, and spoke about the Quick Start program, which encourages senior citizens to learn to play instruments.

For more information about Don's Musicland, please visit its webpage.

In Search of Lewis and Clark -- October 29, 2009

The rain didn't dampen the spirits of nearly 30 OLLI members who joined our learning trip to the Lewis and Clark State Historical Site and Cahokia Mounds National Historic Site in southwest Illinois.

Our first stop was the Lewis and Clark site, which was designated as the location for one of the National Signature Events for the 2004 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. The 14,000 square-foot facility, located at the winter camp area of the expedition, included a 55-foot full-scale replica of the keel boat used by Lewis and Clark. We also viewed exhibits on Illinois and the entire expedition, as well as a video in the facility's theater.

After a hearty lunch at Ravanelli's, we visited Cahokia Mounds, where 1,000 years ago a great civilization of Mississippian peoples thrived. During our interactive tour of the visitor's center (it was much too rainy to climb to the top of Monk's Mound), we learned about its history as the largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico.

For more information about the sites we visited, check these websites:
--Lewis and Clark State Historical Site
--Cahokia Mounds

This additional website, courtesy of Lauren Jackson of the Pacific Northwest Librarians Association, may also provide more information about Cahokia Mounds.

Reading the Landscape -- October 27, 2009

Naturalist Dean Johnston instructed OLLI members how to identify types of trees during our learning trip to the Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria.

During our hike in the nature preserve, we learned about basic tree biology, including habitat, fruits, bark, buds, size, and leaves. Our identification focused on seven trees native to the preserve: hackberry, black walnut, slippery elm, white oak, buckeye, red oak, and sugar maple.

For more information about Forest Park, visit the Peoria Park District's website.

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