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, July 31, 2014

Homeland Security Education Center & Fermilab - July 29, 2014

With our summer learning trips coming to an end, OLLI members have been busy hitting the road to discover new places. We have been on many exciting and interesting visits, and our trip to the Homeland Security Education Center (HEC) and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory was certainly no exception!

It was an early morning for many of us, but well-worth the early wake-up call! Our trip began with a visit to the Homeland Security Training Center at the College of DuPage. To say we were all impressed would be an understatement. It was incredible learning about the comprehensive and collaborative training programs taking place. While the HEC offers programs in Criminal Justice, Fire Science/EMS, it also houses the Police Department and Suburban Law Enforcement Academy. Most interesting are the collaborative efforts taking place between the various programs, providing an all-encompassing comprehensive education for recruits and students.

The highlight for many was definitely taking a tour of the indoor street scene simulation center, used for force-on-force exercises. We even got to take a look at few students in training! A wonderfully-catered Italian meal completed our visit of the Homeland Security Education Center, and we were off to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

A scientist's oasis, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory was a feast for the mind! The Fermi lab is recognized as the United States' premier physics laboratory, which includes the wold's most advanced particle accelerators. Located on 6,800 acres in Batavia, IL you would never guess that this Chicago suburb housed such an incredible facility. On our tour of Wilson Hall, we had the opportunity to look at the experiments taking place, as well as learn about the collaborative efforts between the Fermi lab and labs across the globe working on the same project.

During our Q&A session, OLLI members also had the opportunity to learn about some mind-bending research on topics that include neutrinos, a component of the proton, and dark matter. If that's not confusing enough, there is also research being done on 'nothing,' sort of. Scientists are trying to discover what exactly makes up 'nothing,' or if 'nothing' actually exists--some pretty profound stuff!

For more information on the research happening at the Fermi lab or about the many exciting programs at the HEC check out their websites below!

What's a Neutrino?

Homeland Security Education Center at the College of DuPage

OLLI at Bradley

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wayne's Printing - July 24, 2014

If you've ever wanted to know how your OLLI brochure gets from the Continuing Education office to your mailbox, or what happens in between, then a visit to Wayne's Printing is in order!

The local printing press was founded by Wayne Owens in 1963, and originally began as a small home-based business. On this trip we got to visit the 37,000 square-foot Edwards facility the company moved into in 2001.

It was absolutely incredible getting to see the new state-of-the-art printing equipment, and the Heidelberg QMDI presses, meanwhile learning about the evolution of the printing industry. Upon entering Wayne's Printing, you would never guess that the facility housed such a massive distribution site. It was fascinating to learn about the many facets that go into printing, from plates to paper. Watching the printing equipment at work, it is hard to imagine that there was a time when this was all done by hand! Nevertheless, employees at Wayne's Printing exude craftsmanship in what they do.

The interesting visit was topped-off with wonderful gifts from Wayne's Printing. Each OLLI member received a personalized note-pad, complete with the OLLI logo!

Thank you to our wonderful friends at Wayne's Printing! We can't wait to come back!

OLLI at Bradley

Effingham, IL - July 23, 2014

Effingham, IL: arguably the hidden gem of Southern Illinois, was full of surprises during this OLLI regional learning trip.

Our first stop on this tour of Southern Illinois was to the renowned John Boos and Company. This company which began producing butcher blocks and cutting boards in 1887, has become famous for its high-quality products. So much so, that it has been endorsed in several Food Network Shows, and by culinary experts across the globe. It didn't take long for our visit to turn into a shopping trip--OLLI members purchased everything from cutting boards to stools.

After a great time at John Boos, it was time for lunch. If I had to choose one place to eat at for the rest of my life, that place would have to be Effingham's Firefly Grill. Head chef Niall Campbell and his wife Kristie established this culinary oasis in the heart of the Midwest. With a menu that changes daily, and local ingredients--often grown outside in their own garden, Firefly is certainly a gastronomical adventure. OLLI members enjoyed options that included: an American Burger, Chicken Burger, and Reuben, delicious garden salads, and the most indulgent chocolate lava cake! Without exaggeration, some OLLI members claimed it was the best meal they have ever had!

Our last stop of the day was to Mid-America Motorworks, which is accompanied by MY Garage Museum, a one-of-a-kind museum that houses vintage Corvettes and thousands of pieces of Corvette history and memorabilia. We were greeted by owner and Corvette enthusiast Mike Yager, who shared with us his humbling and commendable story. After a comprehensive tour of Mid-America Motorworks, OLLI members had some time to admire the collection of vintage cars that sat beside a restored 1910 gas station.

There is no doubt that we will certainly be returning to Effingham in the future!

OLLI at Bradley

Illinois Shakespeare Festival - July 17, 2014

A summer highlight for many OLLI members, this year's Illinois Shakespeare Festival certainly delivered. Joining us for our trip to Normal, IL was professor of Shakespearean literature Dr. Susan Hillabold. Susan gave OLLI members background information on the play, including several elements to be aware of while watching.

Once we arrived to the breath-taking Ewing Manor, OLLI members opened-up their lawn chairs around the central fountain, enjoying the beautiful summer evening.

OLLI members enjoyed a nice picnic dinner, and endlessly flowing wine as they prepared for the evening's theatrical performance. After a few glasses, it was time to enter the historically-accurate amphitheater.

Shakespeare uses humor in Much Ado About Nothing to mask deeper issues, including gender limits, love, and sexuality. On the road back to Peoria, Dr. Hillabold was able to further interpret the performance and discuss it in regards to the original play script.

Safe to say that we are already looking forward to next year's performance!

OLLI at Bradley

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peoria Pere Marquette 2 - July 22, 2014

Can you believe 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. Not only that--but we also got an exclusive first-look at the Marriott Courtyard, which opened up only 5 days ago!

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 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.

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 to 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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Joan's Trophy & Plaque - July 16, 2014

How many times have you driven past Joan's Trophy & Plaque on Jefferson Ave. and wondered what goes on inside? Have you ever wondered what it takes to create the timeless memorabilia?

On this incredibly entertaining and interesting tour, OLLI members learned all about the many facets behind Peoria's iconic Joan's Trophy & Plaque. Upon entry, we found ourselves in the showroom--shelves, and display-cases filled with intricately carved glass, colorful plaques, and awards of every variety.

Our wonderful guides, took us through the various departments of Joan's Trophy & Plaque, where we got to see the process take place. It all begins in graphics, where clients can choose or create designs to have placed on essentially any item you could imagine--from glass to bricks! Once the design has been chosen, it is sent upstairs to the various craftsman that will bring it to life.

High-tech, powerful lasers can create crystal-clear images on glass or metal, and sand-blasters can intricately carve-out glass. The talent these craftsman possess is one of a kind, and we are grateful to have seen them in action!

Joan's Trophy and Plaque even had gifts ready for our OLLI members--each member on the trip received a custom-made name-tag! Not only did we get name-tags, but we helped produce them!

Now, some OLLI members are fully-aware of the work it takes to create these beautiful trophies and plaques. We are incredibly thankful to our wonderful friends at Joan's Trophy & Plaque for being such fabulous hosts!

We love our name-tags, and can't wait to come back soon!

For more information on Joan's Trophy & Plaque, check out their website!

OLLI at Bradley

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peoria County Emergency Management Agency - July 15, 2014

Ever wonder what happens in an emergency situation? Where the central location for management is located?

Well, on this learning trip to the Peoria County Emergency Management Agency, OLLI members were able to observe first-hand where the agency operations are housed.

Before our insightful visit to the Peoria Co. EMA, OLLI members enjoyed a fabulous buffet spread at the Kickapoo Creek Winery, complete with various dessert options, and my favorite--garlic mashed potatoes.

To no surprise, we had some difficulty locating the EMA. You see, the Peoria County EMA is actually located in an underground bunker. However, we knew we were in the right place once we found the Peoria County Diving Team's trailer and boat in front of the EMA. Quite amusing to see the emergency vehicles parked next to the OLLI Shuttle.

After learning about the history of the Peoria Co. EMA, we headed underground to see where the operations are held.

You would have no idea that underneath the dirt and grass, entire agency operations are taking place. It was fascinating learning about the many facets behind the Peoria Co. EMA, and just how much goes into preparing for emergency situations. The EMA is equipped with monitors, radio systems, and communications that allow staff to dispatch emergencies readily and efficiently.

Thank you to our wonderful guides for an incredibly informative visit!

As always, feel free to share your thoughts.

OLLI at Bradley

Monday, July 14, 2014

J.K. Williams Distilling 2 - July 11, 2014

Our second visit to J.K. Williams Distilling this summer provided members with the opportunity to learn more about the family's history, and to sample more cocktails! No better way to kick-start the weekend than by getting the chance to sample a variety of the distillery's fine products.

We were welcomed with a few of the distillery's original and delicious cocktails that include everything from a Lemon Drop Martini to a Whiskey Pom Pom!

We also had the opportunity to learn about the distillery's history. The Williams family began distilling well-before the 1920s, and became a top-name during the prohibition era. After a brief overview of the Williams roots in distilling, we had the opportunity to tour the facility. Our tour included a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling process, as-well as an inside peak at how the product goes from grain to bottle.

Most-charming are the family values the distillery holds so dearly. Brother and sister have taken initiative to reinvent the business--and they have turned it into a family affair. For everything from bottling parties to tours, the parents and children always lend a helping-hand. Even the labels are placed on the bottles by hand! Although every now and then they place a crooked label, it's the subtle charm in these imperfections that makes their products so unique.

Our lovely visit to J.K. Williams Distilling concluded with the opportunity for OLLI members to sample a variety of their products which include: peach whiskey, apple pie whiskey, blackberry whiskey, lemon whiskey, bourbon, and the original corn whiskey.

We couldn't think of a better way to start our weekend, and we are grateful to our friends at J.K. Williams Distilling for their warm welcome!

For more information on J.K. Williams Distillery, you can find them on Facebook!

And if you would like the recipes to some of the cocktails we tried,visit the distillery's blog!

OLLI at Bradley

Historic Heritage Corridor - July 10, 2014

Our delightful and fascinating trip through the Historic Heritage Corridor of Illinois kicked-off with a visit to the Weber House and Garden in Streator, IL. This charming cottage sits on two acres of English gardens, paths, roses, hollyhocks, and old oaks. The home is filled with stories of the rich and famous, and our fascinating docent Ted Weber, shared many of these fascinating stories. Ted Weber, a long-time Chicago radio and television personality, created the Weber House and Garden, which was a haven from the city for many celebrities.

Along the bus-ride North, we viewed Radium Girls, a documentary about the Radium Dial Company and the many women that fell victim to radium poisoning in Ottawa, IL. Before starting our tour of the historic Reddick Mansion, we were able to stop by the Radium Girl Memorial which honored the women who lost their lives. At the Reddick Mansion, we were welcomed by a wonderful docent dressed as Mr. Reddick's wife herself. After touring what was once the home of the philanthropist, and man who contributed so much to the Ottawa community, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch catered by the Cheese Shop.

Our next stop was to the Ottawa Scouting Museum. Did you know that the Boy Scouts of America was founded in Ottawa, IL? This museum holds the uniforms, artifacts, and stories of the Boy Scouts from the years past. The museum is also home to several exhibits that highlight the history of Ottawa, and the many influential people that have called this town home.

Our last stop before departing back to campus was to the Hegeler-Carus Mansion of LaSalle, IL. What a perfect way to end our trip through the Historic Heritage Corridor of Illinois! This stunning mansion boasts the oldest at-home gymnasium, over 50 rooms, and the birthplace of the Open Court Publishing Company. Barb and Ken, our wonderful docents, shared with us the many stories contained within each room of the mansion. One would need well over a day to view the entire house!

We hope you enjoyed your trip through the Historic Heritage Corridor of Illinois as much as we did!

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts!

OLLI at Bradley

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

J.K. Williams Distilling - June 30, 2014

It's no secret that we all need a little bit of help getting through some Mondays--lucky for us, our first learning trip of the week was to J.K. Williams Distillery in East Peoria.

If you're wondering of a way to get rid of the Monday blues--I recommend a sampling of the finest in Central Illinois distilling--J.K. Williams. Who says you have to wait until 5 O'clock for happy hour? We were welcomed with a few of the distillery's original and delicious cocktails that include everything from a Lemon Drop Martini to a Whiskey Pom Pom!

We also had the opportunity to learn about the distillery's history. The Williams family began distilling well-before the 1920s, and became a top-name during the prohibition era. After a brief overview of the Williams roots in distilling, we had the opportunity to tour the facility. Our tour included a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling process, as-well as an inside peak at how the product goes from grain to bottle.

Most-charming are the family values the distillery holds so dearly. Brother and sister have taken initiative to reinvent the business--and they have turned it into a family affair. For everything from bottling parties to tours, the parents and children always lend a helping-hand. Even the labels are placed on the bottles by hand! Although every now and then they place a crooked label, it's the subtle charm in these imperfections that makes their products so unique.

Our lovely visit to J.K. Williams Distilling concluded with the opportunity for OLLI members to sample a variety of their products which include: peach whiskey, apple pie whiskey, blackberry whiskey, lemon whiskey, bourbon, and the original corn whiskey.

We couldn't think of a better way to start our week, and we are grateful to our friends at J.K. Williams Distilling for their warm welcome!

For more information on J.K. Williams Distillery, you can find them on Facebook!

And if you would like the recipes to some of the cocktails we tried,visit the distillery's blog!

OLLI at Bradley

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