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, November 21, 2014

Komatsu- Wednesday, November 19, 2014

OLLI visited Komatsu in Peoria on Wednesday, November 19. Komatsu established in 1921, is a diversified provider of industrial-use products and services. While remaining an international leader in the field of construction and mining equipment, the Company also participates in industrial machinery and vehicles, logistics, electronics and other solutions-based operations.

OLLI members were given a tour of the Komatsu facility, and learned that the company only uses welders who have had 3 or more years of experience. During the tour, many of the truck frames were on display in the variety of development stages. One frame weighs between 30,000-40,000 pounds. OLLI members were pleased to learn that Komatsu takes safety and procedure very seriously. There were a number of safety check sites and signs around the building to ensure employees are protected on site.

Towards the end of our trip, OLLI members were able to talk with a Komatsu engineer about autonomous machinery. Instead of using a human to work with the equipment, autonomous machinery is powered by a computer. It is clear that Komatsu is advancing technology and moving towards the future of building quality industrial machinery and mining equipment. OLLI wants to thank Komatsu for a wonderful opportunity to learn more about their operations.

To learn more about Komatsu click here.

Yinlun Machinery- Monday, November 17, 2014

It may not be a well-known fact, but Morton, IL is home to one of the 16 sites of the Chinese company Yinlun Machinery. Yinlun is the top manufacturer of heat-exchanger products in China, and customers include CAT, GM, Volovo, Ford, and John Deere. OLLI members visited the Morton facility and learned quickly about how much the company has grown over the years.

OLLI members learned that Yinlun stands for silver wheels, and the company has surely evolved over the past few decades. In the seventies, Yinlun used silver in the manufacture of engine coolers which was replaced by copper a decade later. To learn more how the company has grown, OLLI members were able to take a tour of the 50,000-square-foot facility lead by Joe Ding, Vice President of Engineering.

Yinlun has 3327 employees throughout China and Europe, however Morton is the only facility in the United States. Yinlun also proudly holds 148 patents, and reported sales of $305 million in 2013. The Morton community clearly benefits from the emergence of the Yinlun site in the United States. We would like to thank Yinlun Machinery for welcoming us on a very informative tour.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Proof- Thursday, November 13, 2014

OLLI members see Proof that the Bradley Theatre Department is at the top of their game for our most recent theatrical outing. Over 40 members attended the fall production of the play Proof, performed at the Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts at Bradley University. Proof is a Tony-Awarding winning play, and was made into a feature film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. The show deals with a variety of heavy themes, and prior to the performance, OLLI members were fortunate to expand on these themes through a lecture given by Jim Ludwig, Professor Emeritus of Theatre.

The evening began as OLLI members learned about the history of the Hartmann Center. It is hard to imagine now, but at one time the building was utilized as an athletic facility - and it even had a pool. Today the Hartmann Center is the playground for actors, directors, and designers to build upon technique and develop a strong skill-set within the performing arts. It houses numerous productions throughout the year, including a musical which is always performed in September.

Proof beautifully provokes thought into how we deal with mental illness. The main character in the play has spent a good portion of her early adulthood caring for her father who has a debilitating mental disorder. The actors approached each character thoughtfully and earnestly. The audience seemed to be brought into a world where mental illness and the struggles associated were faced head-on. The discussion points in Professor Ludwig’s presentation rang true throughout the production, and gave OLLI members a framework as they watched the story unfold.

OLLI would like to thank Professor Ludwig and the entire Bradley Theatre Department for a wonderful evening of quality theatre and discussion.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Peoria Journal Star- Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On November 11, OLLI members had the opportunity to take a Learning Trip to the Peoria Journal Star. Tour guides for the day were Rae Anne Hamp and Bernie Drake, our own OLLI President. The building, equipment, and staff have changed quite a bit over the years, but the Peoria Journal Star's dedication to bring quality news to the Peoria area has remained the same.

OLLI members were also able to talk with Phil Jordan, Marketing Manager. Phil said that the local newspaper is in good financial shape, and described the huge impact its readership actually has on the community. Despite the fact that a lot of people are concerned with the future of the newspaper business, he said, more people are reading the Journal Star today then 20 years ago. Many readers, however, are now using their phones and other electronic devices to catch articles online. As a result, the Peoria Journal Star is adjusting some of their marketing and advertising efforts.

Our guides directed us through the print shop to show the computer control room, ink and paper storage, and of course the 4-story press! At the end of the day, members took a peek into the newsroom and offices, and spoke with an editor about the process of a story getting published. The tour ended with a discussion led by Mike Bailey and Dennis Anderson regarding their perspectives on the news business and the future of print journalism.

OLLI would like to thank the Peoria Journal Star and their amazing staff!

Nauvoo- Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A strip of chain restaurants is often displayed in towns with a high volume of tourism and activity. However, you won’t find the “golden arches” in Nauvoo, IL because as the saying goes, “Unchain yourself in Nauvoo.” If you look at all of the unique shops and places to eat in town, none of them are commercial chain stores. The food in Nauvoo is homemade, and the sites celebrate the rich history of a community that is closely tied to the Latter-Day Saints. Nauvoo was the site for our most recent Learning Trip, and OLLI members learned that “Nauvoo truly has something for you.”

The day started with a stop at the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center. OLLI members were able to learn how the town was established as a place of peace and beauty on a great bend in the Mississippi. A short film that was actually shot in Nauvoo was shown to provide an overview of the historic community. At the Visitor’s Center, OLLI members were also able to tour the Monument to Women Garden; the garden is dedicated to pioneer women and the role of womanhood.

Ron Yockey served as the step-on guide for the day, and held a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of Nauvoo. Throughout the day, Ron would tell stories behind the historic buildings that lined the streets. One site that was of particular interest was the Nauvoo temple. OLLI members learned that the temple is not used for Sunday church services, but rather as a holy place dedicated to the highest forms of worship. The trip concluded with a visit to the Joseph Smith Historic Site, which houses the Reorganized Church.

It is safe to say that OLLI members could spend days in Nauvoo learning about the rich history of the community and visiting the variety of sites. It is also quite true that the homemade food in Nauvoo is worth the trip alone. The weather was chilly, but that did not stop OLLI members from taking advantage of touring the historic sites.

OLLI would like to thank Ron Yockey for leading a wonderfully informative tour.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall Wrap-up and Registration- 2014

Can you believe 2014 Fall Classes are behind us, and Winter Classes are just on the horizon? We concluded our Winter Classes with a Wrap-Up session during which OLLI members could share their experiences. OLLI is an organization led by amazing volunteers, and our Fall Wrap-Up was another great example of this tradition.

On Wednesday, October 29, over 50 OLLI members gathered in the Michel Student Center Ballroom to give feedback for Fall Classes. Our Continuing Education staff was thrilled to see so many first-time class members at the Fall Wrap-Up. During the event, OLLI members partnered to review the Fall Class evaluations, and presented an overview for every class that was offered. It is always rewarding to see OLLI members working together to ensure classes maintain quality and meet the needs of our members.

Following the Wrap-Up, the Winter Brochures were distributed to everyone in attendance. Just as Fall Classes came to a close, members were eager to register for Classes, Learning Trips, Study Groups, Lectures, and Cinema events. Once again the OLLI staff was thrilled to see so many members who were eager to participate in programming this winter.

We would like to thank everyone for participating in Fall Wrap-Up and Registration. OLLI at Bradley truly values the opinions and suggestions of our OLLI volunteers who help make lifelong learning such a meaningful and enjoyable experience.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gangster Tour- Wednesday, October 5, 2014

OLLI members were on the run as they toured historic gangster sites in downtown Chicago during our most recent Learning Trip.

The charter bus was nearly full, and OLLI members were eager to hit the road even before the sun had risen. As the bus approached downtown Chicago, we noticed a male figure standing on the street wearing pin-striped pants with suspenders, a long black coat, and a black fedora appearing to be from the late 20’s era. Most drivers may have found find this image alarming at 10:00 a.m. in downtown Chicago, but for OLLI, this man was none other than “Johnny Three Knives,” our step-on-guide for the Gangster Tour.

“Johnny Three Knives” he had the gangster character and Chicago accent perfected. He directed our driver to a variety of gangster hot-spots of the 20’s and 30’s. OLLI members were able to learn how Al Capone illegally built his fortune and mapped out his success in Chicago. Many of the sites where Capone and other gangsters housed their speakeasies were still standing today, and “Johnny Three Knives” clearly pointed these out for our OLLI members to see.

The day concluded with a trip to Tommy Gun’s Garage for a gangster-inspired performance and dinner. The OLLI women were throwing boas around their necks, and the men were holding large tommy guns to pose for pictures in front of the stage. Many of our OLLI members even joined the cast as they were dragged onto the stage. The show also featured popular songs from gangster musicals such as “Chicago” and “Guys and Dolls", and the energy was non-stop. It was a joy to see our OLLI members were not only learning about the gangster era in Chicago, but having such a great time as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Toraason Glass- Monday, November 3, 2014

OLLI returned to Toraason Glass Studio which has become a Learning Trip favorite over the years.

Owner Hiram Toraason welcomed OLLI members to his studio, and provided a glass blowing demonstration using a variety of tools and techniques. Toraason first discussed the origins of glass blowing, then talked about the art form in detail. OLLI members were able to ask questions regarding the technique of glass blowing throughout the demonstration. Hiram also had an assistant on hand to show how partnering in glass blowing can enhance productivity and technique.

The trip participants also enjoyed taking a tour of Hirams's 4,000-square-foot studio and gallery which features his unique works of art. Following the tour, Hiram briefly discussed the artwork that he has created for Caterpillar Inc. and for a newly renovated downtown nightspot. OLLI members not only enjoy learning about the art of glass blowing at the Toraason Glass Studio, but Hiram makes the visit extremely entertaining as well.

OLLI would like to thank Hiram Toraason for leading another wonderful tour.

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