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 18, 2013

Writing the Stories of Your Life Retreat- September, 2013

OLLI offered its inaugural overnight retreat in September when participants of the Study Group, Writing the Stories of Your Life, met at Starved Rock State Park for the opportunity to "run away and write."

Ten OLLI members joined facilitator Carla Rich Montez for three days in this beautiful setting where participants were asked to develop beliefs and habits to sustain their life story writing.

The featured speaker was Dr. Kevin Stein, Illinois Poet Laureate and a Bradley Caterpillar Professor of English, who talked to the group "writer to writer." Be Gibson, one of the participants, said at the end of the retreat, "Today I declare myself a writer."

OLLI thanks Carla Rich Montez for coordinating this unique and inspiring event.

Click below to view a video of the retreat created by one of the members.

Friday, November 8, 2013

South Side Mission – October 25, 2013

Most OLLI members have heard of South Side Mission, but not many have had a chance to visit this amazing place, even though it has been around the Peoria area for over 85 years.

It has grown significantly over the years and now cares for over 15,000 poor people each year through youth ministry, homeless shelter, food pantry, outreach, and career training ministries.

Meg Newell, the Marketing and Development Director was our guide for this this trip. She gave us a short history of the mission as well as an overview of the day-to-day operations. She shared inspirational stories of the many residents she has come to love. She proudly shared the fact, that the South Side Mission is funded entirely through donations and grants, using no government money.

OLLI members learned about the Culinary Arts School, a program designed to help under- and unemployed men and women train for careers in the hospitality industry. We met Chef Chris Franzoni and his students, and dined on the delicious lunch they prepared for us. In the gym next to us, they were feeding the hungry and poor the exact same gourmet meal we ate, as they do each day at noon.

OLLI thanks Meg and the entire staff at South Side Mission for sharing their time and their inspirational compassion with us.

Peoria Disposal Company & Waste Management Landfill – September 24, 2013

OLLI member Les Bergsten, Chairman of the Peoria City/County Landfill Committee, was our host for today’s tours.

We started with a visit to the offices of the Peoria Disposal Company. Les gave an overview of the company and his role on the committee. In addition to traditional curbside waste and recyclable collection, PDC has resources to provide technical consulting, laboratory analysis, equipment rental, transportation, brokerage, hazardous waste disposal, and many other environmental services.

For the next stop, OLLI members boarded the shuttle and headed to the Peoria City/County landfill for the next part of the trip. During our tour, Bergsten discussed the history of the landfill, and gave us an update on the construction of Landfill #3. It was quite an adventure to drive through the landfill, watching and observing the huge machines performing their actual operations.

OLLI would like to give a big thanks to Les Bergsten for providing such insight into the operations of PDC and Waste Management.

Peoria's 182nd Airlift Wing - Illinois Air National Guard -- October 22, 2013

OLLI visited Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing – Illinois Air National Guard.

During our visit, Colonel William Robertson (’83), the Wing Commander, led a tour to explore the Wing’s mission including the maintenance, flying operations, and air support to the Army, Security Forces, and much more. He also provided an update on the Wing’s current worldwide missions.

OLLI members had the opportunity to get up close with the tools and artillary as the National Guard members demonstrated and explained their various equipment.

OLLI thanks Colonel Robertson and the Air National Guard for allowing us the opportunity to visit.

Agriculture in Galesburg- October 21, 2013

For this trip, we boarded a charter coach to Galesburg, to take a look at the impact agriculture has had on the area. A step-on guide from the Galesburg Convention and Visitors Bureau accompanied us throughout the day providing more insight and answering questions.

The first stop was a visit to the Erikson family-owned farm. OLLI members had an up close look at the large machinery, as the family talked about how the expensive equipment has made the farm more efficient. The discussed several ways family farmers maintain their business from owning and farming their own lands to sharing land and crops with other farmers.

We stopped for a delicious lunch at the Packinghouse Dining Company, which of course included their famous cinnamon rolls.

After lunch, we visited the Monsanto Learning Center, a 480-acre research farm in Monmouth, Illinois. At this facility they work towards advanced research in corn and soybean production to better meet the needs of the farmer and consumer. OLLI members were able to view the newest Monsanto technologies which allows a look at the advanced agronomic tools scheduled to be available in the future. They also took a shuttle out to the fields for an up close look at the planting process.

Our final stop was a local grocery store to learn how food is distributed from those farms to area stores.

OLLI thanks the Erikson family, Monsanto, Hy-Vee and the Galesburg Visitor’s Center for arranging such an educational and enjoyable day for us.

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