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!

Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow by Email

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nice Work If You Can Get It- Wednesday, October 29

Energy was through the roof as OLLI members attended the Peoria Civic Center’s Broadway Series performance of Nice Work if You Can Get It.

The evening began with dinner and a discussion at Jim’s Steak House in downtown Peoria. Janet Lange, Continuing Education Executive Director, welcomed OLLI members as they entered the newly renovated Renaissance Room on the third floor of the Janssen building downtown. To start the evening, Bryan Blanks, the new Program Coordinator for Continuing Education, gave a brief overview of his directorial and performance experiences throughout the Peoria area.

Following dinner, OLLI member and Professor Emeritus of Theatre Jim Ludwig gave a wonderful presentation that was both insightful and entertaining. Jim included an overview of Aristotle’s Poetics and explained why musical theatre is an art from that is designed to be shared. Jim also explained how Nice Work If You Can Get It Is categorized as a Jukebox musical, which means the dialogue and plot were designed as a result of a collection of songs. In this particular show, the plot has been formed around the music of George and Ira Gershwin.

Once the show got started, the energy of the cast was contagious. OLLI members were tapping their feet and singing along to the Gershwin hits. The leading cast members were what can be described as triple threats, meaning every actor was strong in the three categories of dancing, acting, and singing. The evening was a success, and it was great to see the smiles on OLLI member’s faces as they left the building. The Learning Trip was proof that musical theatre can provide audience with a feel-good experience!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Caterpillar Global Research and Development- Tuesday, October 28, 2014

OLLI members headed to Mossville for a tour of the Caterpillar Global Research and Development Headquarters.

Caterpillar's Tech. Center was the site for the most recent Fall Learning Trip. The CAT Tech Center employs over 2,000 people, and spends $8 million per day on research and development. The tech site houses Caterpillar's testing, simulation, and validation work that ensures its equipment delivers value. OLLI members first learned about the CAT safety procedures and practices before taking a guided-tour of the facility.

OLLI members were able to see Cat employees at work, and how they help keep Caterpillar up-to-date on regulations, product certifications, and industry standards. Tour guides were on hand to provide detailed information about the research and development work that takes place at the Mossville facility. Technology has surely caused the process of testing and equipment validation to evolve over the years, but one thing that hasn't changed is Caterpillar's dedication towards making quality equipment that delivers value over its entire life cycle.

OLLI would like to thank Caterpillar for once again inviting OLLI to one of their wonderful area facilities.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Menold Construction - Monday, October 27

On October 27, OLLI visited Menold Construction, a local business that has helped homeowners restore and reconstruct homes since 1977.

Menold Construction not only holds technical quality to a high standard, but costumer service is at the core of values for the Morton business. Menold Construction has close to 40 years of experience in helping community members restore or reconstruct their homes after property damage or complete loss. Menold provides full-service construction solutions for homes that have met damage due to water, floods, fires, smoke, storms, winds, or harmful molds.

Steven Driscoll, Vice President- Business Development, gave OLLI a tour of the Menold Construction facility. OLLI members were also able to ask questions about the reconstruction and restoration work that Menold performs. One OLLI member had used Menold's services 17 years ago after a fire destroyed her home, and she had nothing but positive things to say about the quality of the work. Everyone seemed to be surprised that 17 years later, the Vice President of the company still remembered working with this OLLI member.

Menold construction was also instrumental in working with victims of the Washington tornado. On the day of the tornado, Menold Construction received hundreds of phone calls, and worked diligently to get out into the Washington community as soon as they could. Steven Driscoll, stressed that homeowners often state, "it will never happen to me," but after incidents like the Washington tornado, it proves that is extremely vital for homeowners to have quality insurance coverage.

OLLI would like to thank Steven Driscoll and the entire staff at Menold Construction for welcoming OLLI on this wonderful Learning Trip.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peoria County E.M.A.- Friday, October 24

OLLI was on the alert for the most recent Learning Trip to the Peoria County Emergency Management Agency.

Trip participants were able to visit the Peoria County Emergency Management Agency to observe first-hand where the agency operations are housed. John Hamann, interim director, lead OLLI on a tour of the agency's facilities. John gave us historical information about the emergency management system and discussed the future of the E.M.A.

Built originally as a 1965, the Peoria County EMA is actually located in an underground bunker. OLLI members were able to go into the bunker that was originally designed in 1965 in preparation for a nuclear attack. OLLI members were surprised to see a lot of original 1965 equipment that was in the bunker, including morse code equipment.

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.

OLLI would like to thank John for hosting OLLI on this wonderfully informative Learning Trip.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Industry in El Paso - Monday, October 20

Industry in El Paso was the focus of the most recent OLLI Learning Trip.

El Paso, located approximately 30 miles east of Peoria, is a small town in Woodford County that is home to a number of industrial employers. Our first stop was American Buildings, one of the largest and most experienced manufacturers of custom engineered steel building systems. OLLI members were fitted with hard hats and safety glasses, then spent time touring the factory. The expert guides at American Buildings showed OLLI members why American is an industry leader in design flexibility, quality, and value.

At the next stop, just a mile down the road, OLLI went behind-the-scenes at the DuPont plant. DuPont helps farmers improve productivity and sustainability of their crops with weed and insect control. OLLI 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 for DuPont. DuPont also described their safety policy that has proven its efficiency over the years.

OLLI thanks both of our wonderful hosts for giving us insights into the industries in El Paso.

Homeway Homes - Thursday, October 23

OLLI members returned to Goodfield for the second time in a month for another Homeway Homes tour!

Brian Schieler, Homeway Homes President, graciously gave another tour of his facility and answered numerous questions about the building process. Homeway Homes has constructed modular homes for over 10 years, and contrary to popular opinion, Schieler said customers can have a custom home designed and built at their facility. OLLI members also learned about the innovative techniques his staff uses to maximize efficiency without minimizing quality.

OLLI members proudly wore their yellow hard hats, and worked their way through the Homeway home Facility. OLLI would like to thank Brian and the entire staff at Homeway Homes for welcoming us for another tour this month. We look forward to our next Learning Trip in Goodfield.

Springdale Cemetery - Tuesday, October 21

OLLI visited the Springdale Cemetery on a picture-perfect fall day.

Springdale Cemetery is a peaceful place of great beauty, deep meaning, and rich history. The cemetery was founded in 1854, and was designed to be both a cemetery and a park for Peoria. Today, it is a place where people can go to for remembrance and peace.

OLLI members were lead by Mark Matuszak, General Manager, and two step-on guides. The tour provided detailed information about the landscape, art, and architecture of Springdale Cemetery. Trip participants were shocked to learn that over 70,000 former Peoria residents reside in the cemetery. One of the highlights of the tour was to see the burial site of Lydia Moss Bradley, founder of our very own Bradley University. OLLI members were glad to spend a beautiful fall day remembering and honoring various historic business and community leaders that have made Peoria proud.

OLLI would like to thank Mark Matuszak for leading OLLI on this wonderful tour.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Classes- October 20, 2014

Over 400 members joined OLLI for a number of new and exciting classes this fall.

Every Wednesday in October, the Bradley campus was bustling with college students AND OLLI members filled the hallways of both Westlake Hall and the Student Center. Bradley music major Adam Windish stated, “I love seeing and talking to OLLI members on campus! I hope that even after my college days are behind me, that I continue to learn in every way possible.”

This fall, OLLI members were able to enroll in courses ranging from Current Events in Chemistry to Broadway Hits of the 21st Century. Instructors from various walks of life give OLLI members the opportunity to learn something new or to expand upon a certain topic of interest. Fall courses have almost come to a close, but members can register for Winter Classes on Wednesday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m. in the Bradley Student Center. Come join OLLI to engage in lifelong learning!

OLLI would like to thank all of our instructors and members for another great season of classes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Peoria Post Office- October 16, 2014

The Peoria Post Office opened their doors for OLLI, and delivered promising news for the future of the United States Postal Service.

OLLI members visited the downtown Peoria Post Office site for the most recent Learning Trip. Rebecca Brummitt, Customer Relations Coordinator, welcomed OLLI with a brief overview of the postal service. The Plant Manager was also on hand to answer any questions about the process of the downtown facility.

Trip participants were able to tour the post office plant during the workday. Tour guides were also on hand to deliver demonstrations on how mail is sorted and distributed through the use of modern technology. Mail service has changed over the years, but competitive prices and free tracking services will help build the future of the United States Postal Service.

OLLI would like to thank Rebecca Brummitt and the Peoria Post Office for welcoming us for the annual tour of their facility.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homeway Homes- October 13, 2015

OLLI members put on their hard hats, and learn about the process of building modular homes.

OLLI members visited Homeway Homes in Deer Creek, IL for the most recent Learning Trip. President Brian Schieler, was OLLI's private guide during the factory tour. Schieler discussed the company’s modern home design and the overall construction process. OLLI members learned about Energy Strength, a ground-breaking insulation system that not only seals the home for energy conservation purposes, but also strengthens it from a structural standpoint.

OLLI members were also able to learn the differences in building a modular home versus a traditional home built on a construction site. The Homeway Home construction process allows builders to work all year long within controlled temperatures. At the end of the tour, OLLI members were able to tour model homes at the sales office and model home facility.

OLLI would like to thank Brian Schieler and Homeway Homes for a fantastic tour.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Peoria State Hospital Walking Tour- October 10, 2014

OLLI members visit the Peoria State Hospital, but hauntings and the Halloween season were not the topic of this walking tour.

Bill Turner, former employee of the Peoria State Hospital, guided a walking tour of the Bartonville site that was established in 1895. The Hospital has been closed since 1972, but Bill Turner recalled memories of the hospital as if they were yesterday.

OLLI members walked on the grounds of the hospital, and visited the four cemeteries where 4128 patients were buried. The hospital tour took place during the Halloween season, and Bill was able to debunk the stigma of hauntings at the Bartonville site. Bill shared with OLLI members that Dr. Zeller himself would often debunk myths through a variety of stories that he wrote. Ultimately, the Peoria State Hospital brought mental health reform to the Peoria area. In Illinois, the Peoria State Hospital has sparked interest in the paranormal community, but for Bill Turner, the hospital remains a place of “bittersweet memories.”

OLLI would like to thank Bill for guiding a walking tour that was extremely interesting and informative.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard- October 7, 2014

OLLI members got a taste of the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard experience for the most recent Learning Trip.

Paul and Diane Hahn, owners of Mackinaw Valley Vineyard, guided a tour of Central Illinois's oldest winery. OLLI members were able to learn the process of how handcrafted wines are made, and how the grape evolves from the vine to the bottle. OLLI members also spent the afternoon admiring the beautiful panoramic view from the vineyard’s spacious deck and patio area.

The Learning Trip was completed with a guided wine tasting lead by Diane Hahn. OLLI members were able to taste and savor six different handcrafted wines. Diane also offered suggestions of how to optimize the wine tasting experience. OLLI members learned that swirling a glass of wine helps to bring out the full flavor, particularly for dry red wines. Ask an OLLI member, "why are you swirling your wine glass before dinner"... they may impress you with the response, “I’m simply volatizing the esters.”

OLLI would like to thank Paul, Diane, and their son Eric for a wonderful visit to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

For more information on the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and for a list of events, click here!

JDraper Glass- October 6, 2014

OLLI members visited J Draper Glass as the studio celebrates the year anniversary of Fine Blown Glass by local artist Jeremie Draper.

Jeremie Draper, owner and glass artist at J Draper Glass, opened her studio for OLLI members on the most recent Learning Trip. OLLI members were able to watch Jeremie construct a number of projects, beginning with the first step in the glass making process to the final artistic product. OLLI members learned how to shape and blow glass bubbles to make forms that ultimately became works of art.

OLLI members also received a guided tour of the Studios on Sheridan. The Studios on Sheridan houses a number of local artists in addition to the sale of vintage goods and antiques. OLLI members were also able to learn about the classes offered by J Draper Glass, which include: Paperweight Making, Mushroom Making, Pumpkin Making, and more.

OLLI would like to thank Jeremie Draper for opening up her studio and hosting an extremely informative Learning Trip.

Please visit J Draper’s website for more information about the studio and classes offered by Jeremie Draper.


Friday, October 3, 2014

South Side Mission- October 2, 2014

OLLI members visited the South Side Mission, a faith-based organization that provides an array of services for those in need.

Phil Newtown, Executive Director at the South Side Mission, welcomed OLLI for the most recent Learning Trip. OLLI members were given a tour of the South Side Mission's facility, and learned of the history behind the not-for-profit group. Meg Newell, Associate Director of Development and Marketing, was also on hand to welcome OLLI to the South Side Mission.

OLLI members also enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared and served by students in the South Side Mission's Culinary School. Students enrolled in the culinary program attend tuition free, and are given an opportunity to learn skills that will be useful in the real world. At the conclusion of the meal, the students introduced themselves and were greeted with applause and words of appreciation from OLLI members.

OLLI would like to thank Phil Newton, Meg Newell and the entire South Side Mission team for hosting a wonderful and informative tour.

Please visit the South Side Mission's website for more information: https://www.southsidemission.org/

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Elmwood Cinema: Shadow of a Doubt- September 29, 2014

OLLI members visited the Palace Theatre and Jubilee Café for our first ever Dinner and a Movie event.

Vern Reynolds, owner of the Palace Theatre, provided a short tour of the building and discussed the history and background of the nostalgic Elmwood theatre space. Following the short tour, members were able to enjoy movie theatre popcorn as they watched the classic 1943 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Shadow of a Doubt. Hitchcock is known for his unique approach to filmmaking, particularly for the genre of psychological thrillers.

Once the film concluded, Randy Wilson and Carol May moderated a discussion on Hitchcock and the thriller genre. OLLI members gave feedback on the film and discussed other films within Hitchcock’s repertoire. OLLI members also examined various themes and motifs that were present in many of Hitchcock’s films.

The Elmwood Cinema Trip did not end at the Palace Theatre. Dinner and conversation on Shadow of a Doubt continued as OLLI members enjoyed an evening meal at the Jubilee Café’ in Kicakapoo. Typical of Hitchcock films, Shadow of a Doubt left a number of plot and thematic discussion points for us to engage in over dinner.

OLLI would like to thank Carol and Randy for their work, and Vern Reynolds for giving OLLI a great, old-fashioned, movie-going experience. For more information on the Reynolds Theatre

Blog Archive