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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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Case International Harvest Plant -- April 29, 2010

OLLI traveled to nearby Woodford County for a private tour of the Case International Harvester plant in Goodfield, Illinois.

During our tour, learned how the facility, founded in 1961 by a local farmer, now produces the “Cadillac” of tillage equipment.

Case International Harvester is a world leader in the agricultural and construction equipment business, employing 31,500 people worldwide with a network of 11,300 dealers in 170 countries.

The Goodfield facility’s product offerings include vertical tillage units, disk rippers, and disk harrows.

OLLI thanks Kari Schmidt and the staff at Case IH for making us feel welcome during our visit. (We love our hats, too!)

For more information about the facility, please visit the Case IH website.

Civil War Tour, Day 2 -- April 28, 2010

Our day began with breakfast at our hotel and an hour’s drive to New Concord, Ohio, the birthplace of Senator (and hero astronaut) John Glenn. We saw a short film about the Glenn family and then toured the home. This site is very special for two reasons: first…because local actors re-enact parts of daily life during WWII; and second…because our hosts opened the home for us when they are usually closed.

During our tour, we “met” John Glenns’s mother, Clara, who explained the difficulties of life when food, fuel, and other necessities were rationed. She showed us her milk bottles, the sign for the ice man, and the coupons that she used to buy gasoline. Clara also asked how we ever accumulated enough gasoline coupons to drive our large charter coach!

The cozy home, which had been purchased through the Sears catalog, has four bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room, and one bathroom. Munsinger University, which is located in New Concord, had no residence halls for students in the early days, so many area families, the Glenns included, rented rooms to students. “Clara Glenn” is very proud of her son and showed us many treasured photos of him.

During our visit to New Concord, we learned that the town sent 70% of its young men to fight against slavery in the Civil War.

After our delightful tour of the John and Annie Glenn home, we drove east along The National Road (Route 40) to historic Cambridge, Ohio, and enjoyed a scrumptious buffet lunch at Theo’s. Of course, the pies were the most popular item!

For the afternoon, we continued east along Interstate 70 through Ohio, a corner of West Virginia, and into Pennsylvania toward Harrisburg. After checking in at the Radisson Hotel just west of Harrisburg, we ate at an award-winning restaurant, the Firehouse. The building, formerly a fire station, was full of interesting artifacts and news clippings from the early days of firefighting.

After our dinner, we returned to the hotel for a good night's rest before starting the next adventure.

The Civil War Tour, Day 1 -- April 27, 2010

Our adventure began at the United Presbyterian Church very early on Tuesday, April 21. Thirty-seven happy travelers (some a wee bit sleepy!) boarded our charter coach for the drive to Dayton, Ohio and our first destination.

Upon arrival at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, our guide stepped on the coach to tell us about the highlights of the site. We had a quick lunch and then took off to explore the three hangars that house the exhibits. From examples of the earliest attempts at flight to some of the more sophisticated fighter planes from WWII, we were able to see the progression of the development of flight. One section of the museum is devoted to comedian Bob Hope, who entertained generations of troops.

Several of our group members left the main museum to tour the hangar of presidential planes, including Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman (The Independence), Dwight Eisenhower (Columbine), and the first Air Force One (used for Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and George H.W. Bush). One building holds many types of experimental planes that were developed to test theories of flight. After two hours of exploration, we traveled to Columbus, Ohio for dinner at the Schmidt Haus in German Village. Everyone enjoyed the brick streets, the quaint old buildings, and a delicious German buffet before retiring for the night in Pickerington, Ohio.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Day in St. Louis -- Friday, April 23, 2010

Terese Bolla, expert on St. Louis' hidden gems (and wife of our Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs) was our guide as we spent a day exploring some of the city’s fascinating sites.

The day began with a private tour of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, best known for its large mosaic installation and burial crypts. The Cathedral was designated a basilica by Pope John Paul II on April 4, 1997.

Next, we took private tours of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA), and the Samuel Cupples House and Gallery, both located on the campus of St. Louis University.

MOCRA is the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary art that engages religious and spiritual themes. The current exhibition, Good Friday, includes works by over 30 artists of diverse backgrounds who have used the events of the day of Jesus’ death as inspiration for their own reflections on such themes as faith, suffering, loss, compassion, and unconditional love. Cupples House, a historic 42-room, castle-like mansion, is a rare example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in St. Louis and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Following a drive through the neighborhoods of Lafayette Square and Soulard, we dined at the fabulous Soulard's Restaurant and Bar. OLLI thanks Dan Badock and his staff for a warm welcome and wonderful food!

OLLI ended the day with a tour of the Old Historical Courthouse, and tram ride to the top of the St. Louis Arch.

For more information about the sites we toured, please visit these websites:

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis


Samuel Cupples House

Soulard's Restaurant

Old Historical Courthouse and St. Louis Arch

Italian Ethnic Dinner -- Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Ethnic Dinner is fast becoming an OLLI tradition. This season, we celebrated the Italian culture (and the 81st anniversary of the Italian American Society of Peoria) with a relaxing evening of Italian music, a presentation about the Italian-Americans in Peoria, and, of course, delicious food.

Kathie Bartolo, a member of both OLLI and the Italian-American Society of Peoria, discussed her Italian heritage and demonstrated how to make pasta. The evening’s menu included baked mostaccioli, chicken breast cacciatore, Italian green beans, fresh Italian green salad with olive oil vinaigrette, garlic herb bread, fresh parmesan cheese, and fresh cannoli with pistachios and chocolate chips.

OLLI thanks Kathie for her lively presentation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

OLLI Endowment Announcement -- Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To read media coverage about this event, click on the following links:

Peoria Journal Star

Bradley University website article

Lydia's Blog

San Francisco-based The Bernard Osher Foundation awarded Bradley University a $1 million endowment to continue lifelong learning at Bradley University. The announcement was made by campus officials on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

“The progress the Institute has made since receiving its initial support from the Foundation…has been outstanding, and we congratulate you…on your remarkable achievements,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman.

The endowment funds will be invested by Bradley University with the resulting interest being used to partially fund salaries and other costs to support OLLI. This gift will enable Bradley to direct resources to increase programs and services for new and existing OLLI members.

With this achievement, OLLI at Bradley now embarks on a new quest to grow its membership and expand its programming. Significant is that this growth will be influenced by the members who work hand-in-hand with the Continuing Education staff to guide the program.

Bradley University President Joanne Glasser considers OLLI a great attribute Bradley offers the central Illinois community. “This gift is recognition of the great value OLLI brings to our community and our campus. It is my hope that OLLI members will forever consider Bradley your educational home.”

With the $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation, OLLI at Bradley is now nationally recognized as a program of distinction for learners age 50 and beyond.

The grant was announced Wednesday at a luncheon on Bradley’s campus before more than 125 OLLI members.

OLLI at BU is an organization that specializes in the learning found in three settings—classes on campus led by university and community volunteers, educational travel throughout the state and country hosted by behind-the-scenes experts, and study groups where members are both resources and participants. The result is a vibrant community of learners who are continuing their education well into their post-career lives.

Bradley University Continuing Education, in affiliation with the The Bernard Osher Foundation and the Elderhostel Institute Network, sponsor the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Illinois Historical Water Museum -- Thursday, April 15, 2010

OLLI had the chance to take one of the last tours of the Illinois American Water Plant and Historical Water Museum this spring before it closes for construction updates.

The museum, which recently reinstated its public tours for the first time since September 11, 2001, is housed in a 119-year-old red sandstone pumping station that features turrets and gargoyles on the roof.

During our tour, we visited the observatory, laboratory, and had the opportunity to view historical instruments, displays, and replicas inside the station.

For more information about Illinois American Water, please visit its website.

Ropp Jersey Cheese and Twin Groves Wind Farm -- Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We've seen the massive wind turbines popping up all along the interstates, and OLLI got a chance to learn about the technology first-hand when we visited Twin Groves Wind Farm.

The farm, located in eastern McLean County, houses 240 Vesta turbines that produce enough energy to power nearly 118,000 Illinois homes each year. Our tour, which included time on an outlook platform to view a turbine, was guided by one of the 130 landowners who participate in Twin Groves with long-term leases that cover the wind rights.

Also included in this trip was a visit to Ropp Jersey Cheese, a family-owned dairy farm in Normal. While at Ropp's, we had the opportunity to watch the cheese-making process, feed calves, milk cows, and sample fresh cheese!

For more information about these farms, please visit Twin Groves Wind Farm and Ropp Jersey Cheese.

Larry Kanfer Gallery and Frasca International -- Thursday, April 8, 2010

OLLI members experienced an incredible day of private, behind-the-scenes tours when we traveled to two commercial ventures in Champaign County.

Our first stop was a visit to the gallery of Larry Kanfer, a premier photographer of Midwest landscapes whose artwork is showcased in collections nationwide. Kanfer spoke about his photography and led us through the gallery he opened nearly 30 years ago, which features five rooms of original artwork, an atrium gallery, and an outdoor courtyard.

After lunch at the historic Silvercreek restaurant, we headed to Frasca International in Urbana, a company that designs and manufactures a variety of flight simulators and training equipment for airlines, flight schools, and military organizations worldwide.

For more information about the sites we visited, please visit these websites:

Larry Kanfer Gallery


Frasca International

Peoria County Sheriff's Department and County Jail -- Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peoria Sheriff Mike McCoy led OLLI members on a behind-the-scenes tour of his department and attached jail earlier this spring.

During the tour, we learned how highly qualified officers handle criminal investigations and protect County residents. Our visit included administrative offices, briefing rooms, and the crime lab. In addition, we walked through the lockup portion of the facility and experienced the jail's new technological advances, including the closed-circuit bonding system, computerized mug shot and booking system, and the live scan fingerprint processing system.

OLLI thanks Sheriff McCoy and his staff for making us feel welcome during our visit.

For more information about the Peoria County Sheriff's Department, please visit its website.

OSF Milestone Project -- Wednesday, April 28, 2010

OLLI members had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Peoria's largest construction project during a tour of the OSF St. Francis Medical Center's Milestone Project.

Slated for an August 2010 opening, the 456,000 square-foot building has nine floors for an emergency department, surgery and cardiovascular procedures, neonatal intensive care, pediatric critical care, St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, adult heart unit, general pediatrics, and helipad.

Our private, hard hat tour was given by one of the two managers of the $280 million project that began in July 2007. Of special interest was the interior design of each floor, which was based on a prayer composed by St. Francis of Assisi in 1224. The Canticle of the Sun praises God with His creatures: the sun, moon, wind, water, fire and earth.

As we toured the new expansion, OLLI members saw special symbols on each floor, each one a reference to the prayer. The symbols and color palette are designed to be soothing and reassuring for patients, and provide an easy way to identify each particular floor. The Emergency Department's decor is "All Creatures," the Surgery Floor is "Earth," the 2nd floor is "Fire and Light," the neonatal ICU is "Wind and Air," the Pediatric Critical Care floor is "Water," the adult heart unit is "Sun," and the general pediatrics floor is "Moon and Stars."

OLLI thanks Rebecca Heisler of OSF for coordinating this incredible tour. For more information about the Milestone Project, please visit its website.

United States District Courthouse -- Thursday, March 25, 2010

Federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution by Congress to decide disputes involving the Constitution and laws passed by Congress. During this trip, OLLI learned about the legal process during a visit to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

We received a private tour of the facility from Holly Kallister, Division Manager of the Federal Court Clerk's Office, viewed a trial in session, and visited with Magistrate John A. Gorman, who answered our questions about the court.

For more information about the District Court, please visit its website.

Rock Island Arsenal and John Deere Experience -- Friday, March 19

Our trip to the Quad Cities began with a guided tour of the Rock Island Arsenal, an active U.S. Army facility located on a 946-acre island on the Mississippi River. A step-on docent highlighted more than a dozen sites at the National Historic Landmark, including the Confederate Cemetery, Colonel Davenport House, Fort Armstrong, and the Government Bridge. Before we left the island, we had a chance to visit the Arsenal Museum, renowned for its premier firearms collection.

After lunch, we toured the John Deere Harvester Works and Seeding Factory, the largest, most modern combine manufacturing facility in the world. OLLI members rode on moving carts during the tour of the 200-acre plant and experienced the main production line from start to finish.

After a brief stop at Country Manor Chocolates, where OLLI members had the opportunity to create edible cups, we ended the day at the John Deere Pavilion, Illinois' most popular and comprehensive agriculture exhibit.

For more information about the sites we visited, please visit these websites:

The Rock Island Arsenal

John Deere Attractions

Country Manor Chocolates

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