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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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

James John Audubon Study Group - August, 2013

John James Audubon, An American Birder, Scientist, or Artist? OLLI members explored the his life and his legacy as they delved into John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes.

The members of this OLLI study group were delighted to have their biography come to life when Bryan Fox Ellis portrayed James John Audubon at their last meeting, August 23. Ellis led the group discussion as they explored Audubon's art, his science, his intellect and his spirit.

OLLI would like to thank Bryan Fox Ellis for his entertaining visit and Jerry Whitledge for facilitating this great study group

Friday, August 23, 2013

Peoria Riverfront Museum - August, 2013

OLLI members had another chance to tour the Peoria Riverfront Museum in August.

We started our behind-the-scenes tour in the basement of the museum, viewing the prototype Duryea Peoria Motor Trap. While downstairs, we were also able to check out the art studios, the classrooms, and even peek at the sculpture gardens.

The Museum Curator, Kristan McKinsey, gave background details as we went through the various exhibits including the Illinois River Encounter, ISHA Peak Performance, the Ansel Adams feature exhibit, and The Street, a dramatic exhibit designed with a sense of grandeur, with a large media display to immerse visitors in more than 300 years of Peoria's rich history.

OLLI even had the opportunity to visit the planetarium where Sheldon Shafer, Director of Education/Planetarium Curator, explained the technology behind the sky of stars and showed off the latest technology with a short documentary on black holes.

In addition, we learned about a few of the building features and practices that make it an environmentally sustainable museum.

OLLI would like to thank the outstanding staff at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for such an enjoyable tour.

Caterpillar Visitors Center - August 22, 2013

More OLLI members enjoyed yet another VIP tour of the Caterpillar Visitors Center in late August.

OLLI members explored interactive displays and exhibits with two Caterpillar docents.

Some of the highlights included climbing into the seat of a massive two-story Cat® 797 Mining Truck and taking a virtual ride into a customer's mine site down a haul road, seeing what the Holt steam track-type tractor prototype from 1905 looked like, and viewing the antique Cat® D8 Tractor to see what it was like to operate the machine in the 1930s.

OLLI members also got a chance to climb around and try out some of the other CAT trucks on display.

OLLI thanks the Caterpillar Visitors Center for welcoming our gang.

Peoria County Jail - August 14, 2013

OLLI members had another chance to visit with Sheriff Mike McCoy at the Peoria County Jail.

During the trip, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy led our private tour of the jail, along with Corrections Superintendent Brian Asbell.

OLLI participants volunteered to test their skills in an interactive indoor shooting range at the facility. Sheriff McCoy was impressed with our member’s marksmenship. This video skills test is used to assess officers on a regular basis.

Sheriff McCoy spent time with OLLI discussing the strategies and challenges facing the operations of the County Jail, as well as current community issues.

OLLI would like to extend a huge thanks to Sheriff Mike McCoy and his staff for hosting our tour.

WEEK-TV 25 -- Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013

OLLI visited the WEEK-TV 25 station is East Peoria on August 13. We toured the entire studio, interacting with different news professionals.

In the newsroom, we heard from the news director about his strategies and challenges of running two networks from one station. We even had the opportunity to chat with the sports director, Jim Mattson, about the ever popular Bradley Braves.

As we went from TV sets, to editing bays, to the control room, OLLI had a close up view of what goes on behind the scenes at a busy TV News station.

The highlight of the trip was a live viewing of the midday news broadcast with Gary Moore and Sandy Gallant, who answered questions for OLLI during their commercial breaks.

OLLI thanks the entire staff at WEEK-TV 25 for such an enjoyable and informative tour.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard - Aug 8, 2013

OLLI spent a delightful August afternoon touring Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. Bradley University alumnae Diane Hahn and her husband Paul Hahn, co-owners of the working vineyard were our private tour guides.

The winery is situated on a glacial moraine east of Mackinaw, featuring a gorgeous 30-mile view of the valley and farms below. The 96-acre property has about 14.5 acres of grapes.

OLLI members toured the vineyard and cellar, learning about all parts of the winery process from selecting the types of grapes and the labor intensive harvesting, to making the wine and bottling and labeling on-site.

A definite highlight of the trip was having Diane explain the wine tasting process and inviting OLLI members to taste six of vineyard’s wonderful wines.

After a delicious catered lunch OLLI members were free to taste more wine or spend time roaming the beautiful grounds.

OLLI would like to thank co-owners Paul and Diane Hahn for sharing their time and showing us their family owned Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The L-Bird Story (The Little Plane That Did) - August 7, 2013

In August OLLI learned “The L-Bird Story”. We were introduced by video to “L-Birds”, liaison planes, the military version of the Piper Cub, used to help with surveillance, rescue and special transportation during World War II.

The video included footage of L-birds in action,as well as their history and interviews with pilots, including the late John Kriegsman of Pekin. During WWII Kriegsman was awarded the Silver Star for valor.

We toured through parts of the Pekin Municipal Airport- John C. Kriegsman Field, learning of operations there. We were then allowed an up close view of a replica of the L-Bird, owned by John’s sons Rich and Johnny, who also introduced the film and were on hand to answer questions. OLLI members were actually able to watch the “L-Bird” take off and do a few loops around the airport. It was cool to see history coming to life.

OLLI would like to thank the Kriegsman family for taking the time to share their inspirational story with us.

Heddington Oaks and Peoria County Officials - August 5, 2013

OLLI visited Peoria County’s new elder care facility, Heddington Oaks.

We were introduced to the facility's director, Matt Nieukirk, who talked about the process of constructing a tax-supported facility: identifying the need, weighing renovation vs. building new, how operations were funded and so forth.

We toured the beautiful new building, which officials hope will be occupied in September.

OLLI then had the chance to meet with a panel of officials, which included: State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, Sheriff Mike McCoy, and County Clerk Steve Sonnemaker. They took the time to explain their responsibilities, share their experiences, and answer questions about the public services and programs the County provides.

OLLI would like the thank Mr. Nieukirk and the Peoria County officials for taking the time to meet with us for such an informative session.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Princeton Festival 56- August, 1, 2013

OLLI kicked off August with a wonderful day in Princeton, IL. We met our tour guide, Joni Hunt at the Visitors Center, where we enjoyed juice and donuts.

We toured the town aboard our chartered coach stopping to see the several sites including the Red Covered bridge, the grounds of the Lovejoy home, the Colton schoolhouse, and, as an added bonus, we toured the Bureau County Museum's Clark-Norris house.

After our catered lunch, Dexter Brigham, artistic director and creator of Festival 56,(and a Bradley University alum) met with us to give his personal insights about the festival.

OLLI members then enjoyed an outstanding performance of The Full Monty, with big laughs and an ending we won't soon forget!

OLLI would like to thank Dexter Brigham for arranging such a lovely day for us.

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