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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Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Social: Saving Rocky Glen - June 26, 2014

Busy with regional trips this week, the Summer Social provided the perfect opportunity for OLLI members to relax, socialize, and of course, learn something new. This year's summer social featured special guest Ed Stermer from the Friends of Rocky Glen.

The social was held at Ravina on the Lakes, and guests also received a copy of Horse Shoe Bottoms by Tom Tippett, in which a portion of the story takes place in Rocky Glen. OLLI member Mary Ellen Krum kicked-off the event with a wonderful opener. Guests enjoyed a variety of buffet stations including, a mashed potato bar, pasta bar, meat-carving station, and even a cheesecake bar!!

After the delicious meal, OLLI member Sharon Amdall introduced the guest-of-honer Professor Ed Stermer. Ed discussed the history of Central Illinois' hidden gem Rocky Glen. The audience was all ears as Ed delivered an exciting and informative presentation, about the often over-looked role Peoria played in global geology.

Until Next Summer,

OLLI at Bradley

Princeton Festival 56 & Lovejoy Homestead - June 25, 2014

For the second regional trip of the summer, OLLI members ventured to the charming town of Princeton, IL for the annual Festival 56. We were welcomed at the Princeton visitors' Center with baked goods--dangerous cinnamon rolls--coffee, and juice to kick-start our day!

The first stop of the day was The Lovejoy Homestead, an essential stop on the Underground Railroad. The tour of the historic home included an inside look at the various rooms and nooks of the home, in which those freeing from the South would stay during their trip North. Each room was filled with stories from the past, and our wonderful guides allowed us to experience the Lovejoys' generosity. The tour included a special look at the school-house where so many were educated on their way North. Following our visit to the most important stop in Illinois on the Underground Railroad, we received a wonderful tour of historic Princeton.

Our lovely guide walked us through the history of the town, and explained the architecture that has become so characteristic of Princeton. The tour included a stop at one of only two covered-bridges left in Princeton. The charming red-covered bridge overlooked a scenic park and river, providing the perfect photo opportunity.

Following our tour, it was time for a deliciously-catered meal by Princeton Favorite: Kramer's.

The highlight of the trip for many was the Putnam County Spelling Bee, put on by Princeton's Historic Grace Theater. As a part of Festival 56, each summer a cast of incredibly talented actors from across the country to perform for the duration of the festival. A few OLLI members even had the opportunity to shine on stage.

OLLI at Bradley

Lincoln's Springfield with Randy Saxon - June 24, 2014

There is no better way to learn about the 16th President of the United States than through a journey to his past. On this comprehensive Lincoln experience, OLLI members visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Old State Capitol, the Lincoln Tomb, and lastly, the Lincoln home. Our Lincoln experience was made complete with the help of OLLI favorite Randy Saxon, who served as a fabulous guide to Lincoln's life.

It's easy to see how the Abraham Lincoln Museum became a museum of international-acclaim. With many exhibits, and a plethora of historical objects and Lincoln memorabilia, one could easily spend an entire day taking in the rich environment. The state-of-the-art technology took you back in time, and the hologram exhibits were truly awe-inspiring. The newest addition to the museum "Lincoln: From History to Hollywood" featured sets from the Academy Award-winning film on loan from director Steven Spielberg.

Before lunch at the Springfield favorite Saputo's, OLLI members enjoyed a short visit to the Old State Capitol. The historic building, with architecture characteristic to its era, was filled with relics from the past. After the Old State Capitol, we were off to Lincoln's Tomb. Lincoln's Tomb also holds the famous statue of Lincoln's face--urban legend has it that if you rub Lincoln's nose, you will be welcomed with good luck. Learning about the Lincoln's lineage, and the challenges faced in creating the present-day tomb brought our experience full-circle.

Lastly, we had the opportunity to experience Abraham Lincoln, the lawyer, husband, and father--before he was president, through a visit to his Springfield home. The wonderful park rangers took us through the levels of Lincoln's home, and with each room, more of Lincoln was exposed. It's hard to imagine standing in the same room as such a revolutionary individual, but within the walls of his home one could witness the many sorrows and triumphs Lincoln had experienced throughout his life.

We were especially grateful to have Randy Saxon join us, and share his insight on the Lincoln and the history surrounding his time.

OLLI at Bradley

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peoria Monument Tour - Friday, June 20, 2014

OLLI members joined Jim Ludwig, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Bradley University for a unique adventure exporing the monuments of Peoria. Ranging from Vanna Whitewall to Lydia Bradley; from religious figures to a famous agnostic; from classical to very, very modern; from silly to serious, there is a surprisingly rich and varied collection of public sculpture that we all see (they are in plain sight), but don't really notice.

For the Peoria Monument Tour, members boarded the OLLI shuttle to drive by dozens of sculptures and monuments. Jim Ludwig was a very entertaining narrator as he shared some history and anecdotes about treasures of the community. The final portion of the tour consisted of walking through the Peoria Civic Center inside and out, as well as Peoria City Hall and the plaza area. Today's tour held a special treat, as Byron DeHaan recited his poem Hallowed Ground as the group gathered around Preston Jackson's sculpture Knockin On Freedom's Door. This was the poem he recited at the dedication of the art piece, which honors Peoria's role in the historic Underground Railroad movement.

It was truly a fun-filled tour. OLLI would like to thank Professor Ludwig for sharing his time and talent on the Monument Tour.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pere Marquette Hotel - June 17, 2014

It's hard to imagine that the beautiful Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel was first built in 1926 for $2.5 million. The 12-story building closed in 2011 to undergo an extensive renovation and expansion into a full-service, upscale Marriott Hotel. Today, we had the chance to tour the magnificent hotel, learn about its incredible history, and view the renovations that took place. Mackenzie, our wonderful guide, took us through the many hallways and rooms of the upscale hotel.

The tour began with a private look at a few of the hotel's most famous ballrooms--the 'Marquette Ballroom' and the French-inspired 'Cotillion Ballroom.' The dazzling, sparkling chandeliers that hang from the ceiling of the Marquette Ballroom? Those came straight from Texas following the renovation of the hotel.

The historic Cotillion Ballroom has been the venue for numerous weddings, and social events of Peoria's elite. The mirrors lining the walls, the detailed carpeting, and preserved wood-work were absolutely breath-taking.

As an added bonus, we were lucky enough to visit the sought-after Bridal Suite and Presidential Suite located on the 12th floor of the Pere Marquette. The Bridal Suite was simply breath-taking, and it is no wonder that many brides swoon over the opportunity to get ready for their big day in front of its vintage vanity mirrors.

Only one room could top the Bridal Suite--and that's the Presidential Suite. The room has hosted guests including Martin Luther King Jr., Senator John F. Kennedy, and more recently, Jerry Seinfeld. It's easy to get lost within the many rooms of the Presidential Suite, and the view of Peoria's Skyline.

The visit concluded with a delicious lunch at the Hotel's brand-new restaurant Table 19. Ever wonder where the name originated from? Apparently, during the original days of the Pere Marquette, Table 19 was the most sought-after table to dine at, and with its window seating was the location of many proposals, anniversaries, and birthdays.

Thank you Mackenzie and the rest of the Peoria Marriott staff for a wonderful, and informative tour of this historic gem. For more information about the Hotel and the restoration that took place, visit the website here!

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts!

OLLI at Bradley

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Central Illinois Alpaca Farms - June 16, 2014

Alpacas are a domesticated species that resemble small llamas, and were cherished by the ancient Incan civilizations. Alpacas were first imported tot he United States in 1984--Thirty years later, and Central Illinois is home to several alpaca farms!

OLLI students kicked-off their week with a tour of three alpaca farms located right around the Peoria area in the Chillicothe/Sparland region. Our first visit was to 'Walkin with Alpacas' where we got to see the amount of fiber, and fleece just a few alpacas are capable of producing!

The next visit was to Yankee Lane Alpacas, where OLLI students got a lesson in the Alpaca farming and breeding business-- learning what characteristics make an alpaca desirable, and the maintenance these regal animals require.

Following a nice lunch at Club LaCon, we were off to Autumn Sky Alpacas. We were lucky enough to watch a newly-born cria, or baby alpaca, takes its first few steps! OLLI students enjoyed observing and learning about these animals which originate from Peru.

Thank you to our friends who made this such an enjoyable and informative experience! For more information, check out the following Facebook Pages:

Walkin with Alpacas

Yankee Lane Alpacas

Autumn Sky Alpacas

Please feel free to share your thoughts,

OLLI at Bradley

Thursday, June 12, 2014

WEEK News 25 - June 12, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action!

Today's learning trip had OLLI students behind-the-scenes of the News25 production studio. On this private tour of the station, we got to view editing bays, the control room, and even a live-recording of the midday news! The day began with a detailed history of the news station by anchor extraordinaire Tom McIntyre. Tom walked us through the changes that have occurred in the broadcast industry during his time with News25. Additionally, Tom showed us the evolution of technology in a News station--from large VHS cassette tapes to small 'P2' cards capable of storing months of recordings!

The tour continued with the opportunity to watch a live recording of the midday news with anchors Sandy Gallant and Denise Jackson. Denise and Sandy allowed us to take a glimpse on how a production comes together. Watching meteorologist Sandy Gallant in action, as she delivered the weather segment, was truly remarkable! The tour concluded with a tour of the director's control room, where news-team members are busy at work making sure the recording is broadcast live without a glitch!

Thank you to our friends at WEEK News25 for this wonderful opportunity!

As always, be sure to share your thoughts!

OLLI at Bradley

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Forest Park Nature Center - June 11, 2014

What an informative trip to the Forest Park Nature Center! This year, the 540-acre park is celebrating its 50th anniversary! What better way to celebrate the birthday of this Illinois natural preserve than with an anniversary history hike? On this hike, OLLI members got to experience some of the 7-miles of trails and the open woodland, meanwhile learning all about the many forms of wildlife and bird species.

Sightings of the day included, a deer, several species of birds, a turkey, and most-exciting--an ant valley! Trip-goers also had the opportunity to learn about the history behind the nature that makes up the Prairie State. Exploring the various plant species, included examining texture, scents, and growth patterns.

We concluded the trip with a delicious lunch at Peoria's very own Pizza Works!

OLLI at Bradley

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pettengill-Morron House-June 10, 2014

This rainy Tuesday morning was no match for OLLI members! Raincoats on, we headed to the Peoria Historical Society's Pettengill-Morron House located on Peoria's historic Moss Avenue. Built in 1868 in the Second Empire architectural style, the house has 11 rooms, a colonial revival porch, a porte-cochere, and contains a unique collection of objects from several Peoria families. While Miss Morron is best known for her philanthropic efforts and contributions to the Peoria area, she also lived a fabulous life.

The home was filled with collections of trinkets and souvenirs that Miss Morron had collected throughout her travels across the globe. In fact, Miss Morron went on 17 'Around-the-World' cruises during her lifetime. The beautiful carpeting, woodwork, and decorations made you feel as though you were back in the Victorian era yourself.

Trip favorites included a 29-piece collection of custom-made Louis Vuitton luggage and trunks dating back to the early 1900s. Complementing her custom-made Parisian luxuries, Miss Morron also collected original work from New York's Bergdorf Goodman and Chicago's Marshall Fields.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts!

OLLI at Bradley

Monday, June 9, 2014

Children's Home - June 9, 2014

OLLI members received a little lesson in Peoria history on this sunny Monday morning. Members were greeted by Children's Home CEO Clete Winkelmann, Emily Prouty from the division of Development, and Annual Giving Coordinator Jody Smith-Brown, who introduced them to the organization that has been caring for Peoria's Children for almost 150 years.

The Children's Home operates from six locations in the Peoria area, and is staffed by over 400 professionals who offer counseling services, education, and support to more than 1,100 children and families each month! After learning about how the Children's Home came to be the successful agency that it is today, OLLI members had the opportunity to tour the historical Knoxville Avenue facility.

For more information on the agency and the services it offers, please visit The Children's Home Website.

Questions? Comments?

Comment below! We would love to hear your thoughts!

OLLI at Bradley

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Linden Hill Farms - June 5, 2014

OLLI visited Linden Hill Farms, a fourth generation working farm in Peoria County. Our personal tour guide was Miriam Rosenbohm, owner of Linden Hill Farms. Rosenbohm started our tour with a history of the farm, which goes back almost 100 years.

From a small herd of dairy cows they have grown to a 180-cow registered Brown Swiss and Holstein dairy farm. They also raise purebred Corriedale Sheep, Hackney ponies and chickens. Along with the dairy business the family runs a self-sufficient farm, producing all their own corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and wheat.

OLLI members toured the farm where they were up close with a baby calf, learned about the weaning process, and then headed to the loafing barn for feeding time. Rosenbohm also demonstrated the milking process, noting the cows were milked each day at 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. She discussed the difficulties facing dairy farmers today, animal welfare, and the genetically modified corn that is fed to the cows. Before we departed, Rosenbohm introduced the newest members of the family farm, two day old baby lambs, which we had the opportunity to pet and hold!

OLLI thanks Miriam and the entire family for their gracious hospitality and the opportunity to visit their family farm.

For more information about Linden Hill Farms, visit lindenhillfarms.com

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peoria County Jail - June 4, 2014

OLLI visited the Peoria County Jail. Corrections Superintendent, Brian Asbell, led our behind-the-scenes tour of the jail.

After giving us an overview of the facility, members had a chance to see first hand how the officers hone their marksmenship skills. The interactive indoor shooting range at the facility shows very realistic scenarios and the officer in training must react appropriately and fire when needed.

Asbell led the members through the facility, showing how inmates first arrive, how they get processed, and where they are housed.

OLLI thanks Superintendent Asbell and the entire staff at the Peoria County Jail for such an informative tour. For more information about the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department, visit www.peoriacounty.org

Jeremie Draper Glass Studio - June 3, 2014

OLLI visited Jeremie Draper's Glass Studio at the Studios on Sheridan. OLLI members experienced a private viewing of two hot glass demonstrations by owner Jeremie Draper.

It was truly fascinating to watch as she sculpted the hot glass into something exciting and beautiful. Draper explained each step of the process as she went along, with the help of her assistant Rick. Throughout the demonstration Draper would stop and answer our questions about the art or how she was making it happen.

After the demonstrations, OLLI members were given a tour of the rest of the old Sunbeam building, which houses 21 different artist studios and/or stores.

OLLI would like to thank Jeremie for the educational and amazing glass blowing demonstration. For more information visit, jdraperglass.com

Monday, June 2, 2014

Archeological Adventure with Dr. Michael Wiant - May 30, 2014

OLLI members boared a charter coach with one of OLLI’s favorite instructors, Michael D. Wiant, on an archeological adventure to two historic sites in Illinois: Starved Rock and Sinnissippi Park. During our drive Dr. Wiant discussed the far-reaching story of Starved Rock and the late Ice Age landscape between Peoria and Utica, which was once an equatorial beach shaped by a colossal flood, a home to numerous Native American encampments, and a perch for a French Fort.

Ater arriving at Starved Rock State park, OLLI members stopped at the Visitor's Center to view a film on the history of Starved Rock. The group made their way up the trail to Starved Rock and were rewarded with sweeping views of the Illinois river and the dam at Starved Rock. OLLI members learned about the archeology, geology and history of the site. After exploring Starved Rock, the group headed to Duffy's Tavern for lunch.

After lunch OLLI boarded the bus for a visit to Sinnissippi Park, home to some of the few remaining Native American cemetery mounds in Illinois. They learned how the mounds are a product of the Hopewell tradition which flourished in the Sterling area around 2,000 years ago, when it was the center of a vast trade network that stretched up and down the Mississippi River.

On the ride home, Dr. Wiant made sure OLLI members had been learning all they could during the field trip, as he pitted one side of the bus against the other for an oral examination. The fun "quiz" ended in a tie, of course! OLLI would like to sincerely thank Dr. Michael Wiant for his time and expertise on this wonderful, educational trip.

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