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, October 24, 2013

Peoria Area Houses of Worship- October 15, 2013

Our OLLI group spent the day visiting four of Peoria’s Houses of Worship.

We had the opportunity to get a closer look at the beliefs, architecture, and history of 4 unique and diverse places: St. Mary’s Cathedral, University United Methodist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Grace Presbyterian Church.

At each stop we were welcomed by a representative who discussed the stained glass, customs, and religion practiced at their worship house. At several of the stops, we were treated to amazing live performances of worship music.

OLLI members were also thrilled to have Edward J. Barry, Jr., Senior Architectural Manager for Farnsworth Group, Inc., as our personal guide, who accompanied us throughout the day, pointing out the architectural highlights of each building and discussing their differences.

OLLI thanks the host churches, Ed Barry, and Shirley Cunningham for making this inspirational tour so special for us.

Pere Marquette – October 8, 2013

OLLI visited the newly re-opened Pere Marquette Hotel.

In 2011, the Peoria City Council approved an agreement with developer Gary Matthews to temporarily close the Pere Marquette for an extensive renovation and expansion into a full-service, upscale Marriott hotel.

We had the opportunity take a guided tour of the eagerly anticipated hotel and get a look at some of the 286 guest rooms and 18,840 square feet of meeting space. We also learned about the history of the Pere Marquette, as we toured throughout ballrooms.

OLLI members enjoyed a delicious lunch served on-site at the hotel's new restaurant, Table 19. It was wonderful to see the beautiful new space created in downtown Peoria.

OLLI thanks the staff at the Pere Marquette for allowing us to be their guests for the day.

Excel Foundry—October 7, 2013

OLLI visited the Excel Foundry & Machine in Pekin, IL.

During a brief overview of the company we learned how Excel specializes in the design, manufacture and supply of replacement components for equipment used in open pit mining and aggregate production.

On our tour, we also learned how they engineer site-specific spare parts for cone crushers, hydraulic excavators, electric rope shovels, and more. We learned how the company, in order to boost production capacity and employee growth, recently completed a 121,000 square-foot warehousing and processing center, a 16,000 square-foot foundry addition, and an 11,000 square-foot corporate office facility.

OLLI thanks our tour guides and all of Excel’s employees for welcoming us to your worksite.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A.Lucas and Sons- October 4, 2013

OLLI visited A. Lucas and Sons Steel, established in 1857, which has the distinction of being the oldest manufacturing business in Peoria and one of the oldest steel fabricators in the country.

Upon arriving, company president Margaret A. Hanley helped us learn more about A. Lucas and Sons Steel’s long history, especially noting the strong employee relationships, which have helped the company withstand economic downturns. Hanley also discussed what the future holds for the small family-owned company.

We toured into the factory and even had an opportunity to see the fabrication process up close.

OLLI thanks everyone at A. Lucas and Sons for allowing us the opportunity to visit their outstanding company.

Quest Middle School-- October 3, 2013

On this trip, OLLI had the opportunity to visit Quest Charter Academy Middle School. Quest is a public charter school located on Bootz Avenue in Peoria that provides students with a curriculum rich in math, science, and technology. During this trip, we met the administrative staff at the school to learn more about how the school is managed by Concept Schools, NFP, and is overseen by a Board of Directors that governs all operations.

We divided into small groups and had the student leaders, who were in 8th grade show us around the school. It was fun and educational to see the school from the student’s viewpoint, watch them interact with their teachers and hear how they spend their days. It was inspiring to watch the demonstration of the robot in the computer lab, where students used computer programs to “instruct” the robot where to go and what to do.

OLLI members were very impressed with these young students.

OLLI would like to thank the students, staff and administration at Quest for opportunity to visit and enjoy such an educational tour.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tanners Orchard – September 30, 2013

The roots of Tanners Orchard run deep – literally and figuratively. For 65 years, Tanners Orchard has been a destination for families across the Midwest.

We started our tour by boarding a wagon with our guide Ben and heading out into the orchard. Ben gave a history of the family-owned orchard as he pointed out the various trees. We learned the orchard sports over 11,000 trees and 17 varieties of apples. He talked about the differences between last year’s total crop failure due to freezing temps and this year’s bumper crop. Tanners also grows over 20 acres of pumpkins along with various other fruits and vegetables.

As we moved inside, we took a look at the apple cider press, which is responsible for the delicious home-made apple cider, and learned about the best way to store apples. After an amazing lunch at the bakery, with a famous apple cider donut for dessert, we had a chance to spend some time on our own.

Those who wanted to shop found a large assortment of gifts and delicious food offerings in the Farm Market and Apple Bin Bakery. Others just enjoyed roaming the grounds, sampling apples and treats.

OLLI thanks everyone at Tanners, especially our guide Ben, for treating us to such a lovely day!

Fair Oaks Farm – September 26, 2013

OLLI boarded a charter coach headed for Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana on this fine fall day. The goal of our trip was to take an up close look at sustainable dairy farming.

We started our tour with an overview of the farm, enjoying exhibits and viewing a 3D/4D movie “Grass to Glass”. We caught a “cow bus” to the milking barn, where we drove through rows and rows of cows until we arrived at the milking parlor. It was fascinating to watch hundreds of cows lining up to board the dairy wheel, where they are electronically milked, then backing off the wheel and joining the line to do it again later in the day.

After our catered lunch we had the opportunity to experience Fair Oaks Pig Adventure. This new addition to the farm, told us about where pig farming began as well as the modern practices used today. In the farrowing barn, we saw baby pigs of all sizes, including one only a few hours old. In the gestation barn, we the opportunity to learn about modern day pregnancy practices.

Our next stop was the cheese shop, a unique factory where we got a behind-the-scenes look at how they make some of their most popular cheese and ice cream products. We found out for ourselves how good it was with a free sample of their yummy homemade ice cream!

The highlight of the trip came at the very end of the day, with a unique opportunity to tour the birthing barn where a theater-style layout allowed us to become part of the birthing experience. Fair Oaks Farms experiences between 80 to 100 calves born every day, with usually five or six born right there in the “theater”. It was simply amazing to have the opportunity to witness the miracle of life right before our very eyes!

OLLI thanks the entire staff at Fair Oaks Farms for such an amazing day!

Quest High School – September 25, 2013

OLLI had the opportunity to visit Quest Charter Academy High School.

Quest is a public charter school located mere blocks from Bradley University that provides its students with a curriculum rich in math, science and technology. During this trip, we met the administrative staff at the school to learn how Quest is focused on preparing students to become bold inquirers, problem solvers, and ethical leaders, skill-ready for post-secondary education, and ready to meet the challenges of a competitive global workforce.

The student gave us tours of their schools and answered our questions in small group. OLLI was very impressed with these young adults and the program they are following.

OLLI thanks the entire staff at Quest for allowing to visit your outstanding school.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dixon’s Seafood – September 24, 2013

OLLI members visited Dixon’s Seafood, a locally owned producer and wholesaler of fresh fish for over 100 years. Jim Dixon, president Dixon’s Seafood, which is now in its fourth generation of operation, began our tour with a little history of the company. Although their business started by using the natural resources of the Illinois River, it now focuses on bringing in fish from around the world. We learned about the incredible logistics that take place to buy and sell fish from Chili, Norway, and Alaska just to name a few.

Dixons relies on using modern processing methods, and transportation systems to continue its tradition of supplying quality seafood products to customers around the world. The staff prepared delicious salmon for us to sample, as well as several of their famous seafood dips.

OLLI thanks Jim Dixon and Jason Livingston, and the entire staff at Dixons for sharing their time and insights during our tour.

Advanced Technology Services - September 23, 2013

On this trip, we visited Advanced Technology Services (ATS), which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. We met with a team of professionals, who gave us an overview of the history, services and training ATS provides. Their company spans around the world, delivering innovative factory maintenance, calibration, parts repair and IT solutions,with proven results for some of the world’s most respected companies including Caterpillar, Honeywell, Eaton, Honda, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson and more.

While some of their work is obviously done off-site, we were able to tour the building and observe employees who do repairs and maintenance at ATS.

OLLI thanks the staff at ATS for welcoming us and sharing their vision and culture of continuous improvement.

Peoria Regional High School – September 20, 2013

OLLI visited the Peoria Regional High School located at Wildlife Prairie Park, where students are offered an alternative educational experience in a unique learning environment. Our tour was led by Principal Randy Stueve, son of OLLI member Margaret Stueve. We visited the small but cozy one setting, which is actually one large room with divider walls. Stueve, led us through the classrooms and discussed how they provide learning opportunities for approximately 50 students each semester in math, science and language arts.

We had a question and answer presentation with Stueve and were joined by Dr. Gerald Brookhart, Peoria County Regional Superintendent of Schools. They explained the mission of the Peoria Regional High School, which provides secondary education to students who are at risk of not successfully completing their high school academic career.

It was uplifting to learn about their labor of love and how many students they have reached already as they enter their third year at the new location.

OLLI thanks the staff and administration at Peoria Regional High School for allowing us to join you for an educational day.

Princess Diana Exhibit and Quad Cities -September 19, 2013

Our OLLI group boarded a charter coach for the Quad Cities. We began our day with a visit to the Putnam Museum in Davenport, where we enjoyed a private program on “Fashion and History” and learned how changes in women’s fashion has reflected women’s changing roles in society as they entered the workforce, participated in sports, and even frequented speakeasies. Next, we had a guided tour of the “Diana, A Celebration” exhibit at the museum, which chronicles the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and contains 150 objects ranging from her royal wedding gown and designer dresses to personal mementos, home movies, and photos.

We stopped for lunch at Quad Cities landmark, Lagomarcino’s, also called “the best old-fashioned ice cream parlor in the world.”

After lunch, we headed to the Quad Cities Botanical Gardens for a private tour and presentation on the botanical nature of fudge.

OLLI thanks both the Putnam Museum and Quad Cities Botanical Gardens for helping us enjoy a fantastic day!

El Paso—September 16, 2013

El Paso, located approximately 30 miles east of Peoria, is a small town in Woodford County that is home to three industrial employers. Our first stop, American Buildings, one of the largest and most experienced manufacturers of custom engineered steel building systems. We donned our hard hats and safety glasses, and then spent time touring the factory. Our expert guides, showed us why American is an industry leader in design flexibility, quality and value. At our next stop, just a mile down the road, we went behind the scenes at the DuPont plant. Their goal is to create answers in insect, weed and disease control that help growers improve productivity and sustainability of their crops and farming operations. We learned that all of their crop protection is now dry, versus the liquid formulas used previously. This has had quite an impact on manufacturing, packaging and shipping processes. Our third and final stop was Beck’s Hybrid, which has only been located in El Paso for the past 18 months. Our guide gave us the history of the family-owned seed company, which is based in Atlanta, Indiana. He gave us an overview of the plans to start-up this satellite operation in El Paso. We learned about seed hybrids, GMO and more. We even stopped to check out Beck’s harvesting plant, watching the corn slide down the conveyor belt and get ready for processing. OLLI thanks all three of our wonderful hosts for giving us insights into the industries in El Paso.

Menold -- September 13, 2013

OLLI toured Menold’s state-of-the-art restoration and construction facility in Morton.

After we met the management team, we went to check out the in-house painting and staining area, and then moved on to the restoration division, which includes a massive inventory of equipment used for water, fire, storm, and mold emergencies.

We also had an opportunity to walk through the Ozone Room, where content is cleaned and smoke residue is removed.

OLLI thanks the staff of Menold, Inc. for a great tour!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rockford Garden Tours - September 11, 2013

OLLI members boarded a charter coach to take in two of Rockford's most famous gardens.

Our first stop was the world-renowned Anderson Japanese Gardens. We were awe-struck by the natural beauty and serenity as we followed our tour guide through this "pond-strolling" style garden.

We explored waterfalls, ponds, stone lanterns, coin basins and examples of Japanese carpentry. We even got a chance to feed the Koi fish.

We stopped for a wonderful lunch at the scenic Cliffbreakers Riverview Restaurant, and even took time after lunch to explore the attached hotel with it's beautiful artwork.

After lunch we headed to Klehm Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Klehm is home to 150 acres of magnificent trees and plants from around the world. The group took turns on the electric shuttle, which enabled us to reach parts of the garden we might not otherwise have walked to on this 90 plus degree day.

OLLI members also set off on self-guided tours, checking out the Children's garden, the demonstration garden and more.

OLLI had a great time taking in the scenery at Rockford's beautiful gardens.

Hemingway and Wright's Oak Park - September 10, 2013

OLLI had a chance to spend the day in Chicago with Pam Risher, one of our favorite step-on guides. She was on hand as we enjoyed a private guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

Then OLLI had a chance to learn more about the inside stories of Frank Lloyd Wright's life in Oak Park on a narrated walking and motorcoach tour. Our tour included many of the impressive Wright-designed homes.

After a wonderful lunch at Winberie's Restaurant, OLLI spent the afternoon exploring Hemingway. We toured the Hemingway Birthplace and Museum, which hosted exhibits that explored the author's life, including kiosks fashioned from historic doors holding rare photos and artifacts.

OLLI would like to thank Pam Risher for making our day in Chicago educational and fun!

Toraason Glass - September 9, 2013

Our group of OLLI members were thrilled to have a chance to visit Toraason Glass.

Owner and operator Hiram Toraason led us on a short tour of his gallery, which contained exquisite and unique glass art works.

He then spent over an hour demonstrating and explaining the techniques of working with 2,000-degree molten glass as he created a one-of-a-kind work of art.

It was an amazing experience and OLLI would like to thank Hiram for taking the time to share his passion and creativity with us.

Proctor Place Dining - September, 2013

OLLI spent the day getting a closer look at the logistics involved in running the dining services program at Proctor Place, a life-care retirement community that has served the Peoria area since 1906.

Dining Services Director Ron Gibson, who once headed the food service staff at Bradley, was our host as we toured the kitchen and met the staff who plans meals, orders food, and coordinates staffing to ensure the residents at Proctor Place have a wide variety of dining options available.

We toured outside area to view the grounds, especially the garden, which gives the kitchen access to home grown vegetables.

The kitchen staff treated OLLI to ice cream sundaes as we listened to Gibson discuss upcoming plans.

OLLI would like to thank Ron Gibson and his staff for giving us the behind-the-scenes tour at Proctor Place Dining.

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