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!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Indiana Architecture Tour -- June 19 - 21, 2012

Ranked sixth in the nation by the American Institute of Architects, Columbus, Indiana is noted for the innovative designs of more than 70 historic and modern structures, including six National Historic Landmark buildings.

OLLI and the Fine Arts Society of Peoria partnered for a three-day, two-night architectural exploration of Columbus, French Lick, West Baden, and New Harmony, Indiana. Frequent OLLI instructor, Fine Arts Society President, and retired architect Bennett Johnson accompanied our group to provide valuable insight and background throughout the trip.

Highlights of our adventure included:

-- a private, guided tour encompassing a broad cross-section of Columbus' architecture;

-- tours of the Miller House and Garden, a National Historic Landmark that expands upon Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's architectural tradition of Modernism;

-- private tours of the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel;

-- a private, guided tour of New Harmony, a small town along the banks of the Wabash River that was once a "utopian society" founded by German Lutheran immigrants.

Peoria County Jail with Sheriff McCoy -- June 14, 2012

On this trip, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy led a private tour of the jail and guided us as we participated in an interactive indoor shooting range at the facility.

Sheriff McCoy spent several hours with our group, which was limited to 11 participants in the first-ever online-only announced trip.

OLLI thanks Sheriff McCoy for his time and energy, and the entire staff at the Peoria County Sheriff's Office for making us feel welcome during our visit.

For more information about the Peoria County Sheriff's Office, please visit www.peoriacounty.org.

Summer Picnic: Botany of a Cocktail -- June 12, 2012

The summer picnic is another cherished OLLI tradition. This year, we met at Ravina on the Lakes for a lunch buffet, followed by a presentation by frequent OLLI instructor Bob Streitmatter on the "Botany of a Cocktail."

During his talk, Bob discussed the domestication of grapes in Central Asia, the invention of distillation by the Egyptians, and the intriguing history of brewing and distilling in Peoria.

OLLI thanks Bob for his engaging and delightful presentation!

Chicago: City in a Garden -- June 7, 2012

More than three dozen OLLI members discovered how Chicago's official motto "Urbs in Horto" (or "City in a Garden") continues to guide the city's vision of maintaining and increasing green space for all when they took a full-day trip to several gardens in the city.

The first stop of the day was a visit to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, where participants learned how the site, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was redesigned in the 1930s by Prairie School landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and later used by the Lincoln Park Zoo as a waterfowl rookery.

The group also visited the Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, and the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Conservatory, designed by Jens Jensen, was considered revolutionary when it first opened in 1908 and was described as "landscape art under glass."

OLLI thanks docents Pamela Risher and Linda Dunne for coordinating our visits to these beautiful city spaces.

St. Mary's Cemetery Hike -- June 6, 2012

David Pittman, environmental activist and frequent OLLI hike guide, led our group as we explored the history of the 131-year-old St. Mary's Cemetery in West Peoria.

During the hike, David discussed several aspects of the cemetery, which was once known as nature's cathedral and proclaimed as one of the most impressive views in America.

OLLI thanks David for taking time out of his busy schedule to guide our group and help us learn more about St. Mary's.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peoria Riverfront Museum Hardhat Tours -- May 29, June 5, and June 19, 2012

During these three separate trips, Jim Richerson, Lakeview and Peoria Riverfront Museum President and CEO, guided an exclusive hardhat tour of the downtown facility, which is scheduled for completion later this fall.

OLLI thanks Jim and his dedicated museum staff members for welcoming us to the new facility.

For more information about the museum, please visit www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org

Sousa Archives -- May 24, 2012

Dr. David Vroman, Band Director and Music Department Chairperson at Bradley University, led our group during a visit to two historic gems at the University of Illinois.

First, we took a private tour of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, which holds the worlds’ single largest archives or original music compositions and arrangements by John Philip Sousa.

After lunch, we headed to the Krannert Art Museum, home to the University’s collection of fine art, where we received a private highlights tour of its exhibits.

OLLI thanks Dr. Vroman for providing his expertise and wonderful insight throughout our last learning trip of Spring 2012.

Keystone Steel and Wire Co. -- May 23, 2012

Keystone Steel & Wire Company, founded in 1889 in a humble shed in Dillon, Illinois, became a Midwestern steel giant with the invention of a machine that wove steel wire fence to replace traditional timber fences. Today, the company’s Bartonville campus is one of the largest wire mills in the world with over 2 million square feet of manufacturing space that occupies nearly 1,400 acres of land.

On this tour, we got a first-hand look at the melt shop and rod mills and learned how Keystone's 900 employees produce over 650,000 tons of rod and wire products annually.

OLLI thanks Keystone and its staff for welcoming our group to the facility!

For more information, please visit www.keystonesteel.com

Local Garden Walks -- May 22, 2012

On this day-long adventure, we visited the Washington, Illinois garden of Ella Maxwell, a master gardener and horticulturalist at Hoerr Nursery.

After lunch, we headed to Illinois Central College in East Peoria for an in-depth tour of its Horticulture Program’s national award-winning All-America Selections Gardens, where we visited the ICC Arboretum, hosta gardens, greenhouses, and discussed various aspects of horticulture with local experts.

OLLI thanks Ella and Genny Gibbs from ICC for welcoming us into their gardens!

Kickapoo Creek Winery -- May 16, 2012

In mid-May, we took a private tour of Kickapoo Creek Winery in Edwards, led by owner (and OLLI member) Dr. David Conner. Our trip began with lunch in the winery's outdoor pavilion, followed by a tasting of five different wines, a presentation on the winemaking and bottling process, and a “grape train” tour of the vineyards.

OLLI thanks Dr. Conner and the winery staff for making us feel so welcome!

For more information about the winery, visit www.kickapoocreekwinery.com.

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