University of Oregon

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Continuing and Professional Education

OLLI-UO Program Schedule

Current OLLI-UO program offerings are listed below. Follow the links in the titles to view full descriptions. All offerings take place via Zoom. We look forward to hybrid and in-person programming in the future.

All lectures, courses, groups, and events are open to all members at all program sites, unless otherwise indicated in the listing.

Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated.

For help using Zoom, refer to Participating in Zoom programs.


Offered as series or stand-alone sessions, these dynamic presentations are typically taught by university faculty, community experts, and OLLI-UO members. The lecture format consists of a presentation followed by lively discussion. Registration not required unless indicated in listing. Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated.

International Relations

First and Third Wednesdays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.


This lecture series focuses on international affairs, history, current global developments and U.S. foreign policy. Participants learn through guest and facilitator presentations and discussions on topics connected with geo-politics, international business, global cultures, trade, the environment, and America’s place in the world.

International Relations is a quarterly lecture series planned and facilitated by Eugene/Springfield members Howard Schuman and Susan Walcott.



On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the organization that had a huge influence in shaping his life and that of several of his friends, Scott McNabb (Peace Corps Thailand 1968-71) will provide background about the Peace Corps and the country where he served. He will also analyze the training that his cohort of 42 idealistic 22-year-olds received and examine some of the underlying assumptions that were presented about Thailand and its people and the nature of developments in the region. His presentation explores his debt to the Peace Corps and his lingering questions about its “apolitical” role.

About The Speaker

Scott McNabb holds an MA in Education from Harvard (1972) and a PhD from the University of Virginia (1978) in International Education with research for his dissertation in Thailand, 1975-77. Scott has taught International Education in the College of Education, University of Iowa from 1979 until 2012 and coordinated the Multicultural Education program and the Peace Corps Office for several years. He has made multiple trips to Thailand – teaching, research and consulting, conducted USAID project evaluations, and held two Fulbrights. Scott has also made multiple trips to Laos (to the Plain of Jars and to cave sites of Pathet Lao headquarters during the war), Cambodia, and Vietnam. During election season Scott enjoys talking to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates who come to Iowa. And, as he says. "They ALL do come."

Canine Companions and Service Dogs

Tuesday, May 11, 3:00–5:00 p.m.


This presentation will cover the difference between service and therapy dogs, background on the Canine Companions program, how puppies are selected, and who raises those puppies to become service dogs. We will hear how dogs are matched to people, how to recognize a true service dog, and what questions a shop owner can ask a person who brings a dog into a business.


John Longchamps retired from his career working as a Program Manager supporting the United States Department of Defense and relocated from Maryland to Eugene in 2018. Prior to retirement, John raised his first Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) puppy. His second puppy, Blair, was raised here in Eugene (to include occasionally attending OLLI-UO classes). Blair matriculated into professional training last September, and recently began the process of matching with a veteran (to mitigate symptoms of PTSD). In addition to volunteering as a CCI puppy raiser, John enjoys traveling and road biking, and volunteers on a Citizen Review Board that reviews cases of children in foster care.

Carmaleta Aufderheide is self-employed as a certified professional dog trainer in Eugene. After years of providing training services in Lane County, she pursued certification in the treatment of canine separation anxiety and opened Northstar Training Solutions in 2021. In 2016, Carmaleta completed her master’s degree in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the University of Oregon School of Law. Her graduate school research on the impacts and outcomes of offenders who raise puppies for service dog organizations led to her continued interest in volunteering time within the Oregon Department of Corrections. Inspired by her research and the adult offender puppy raisers, she became a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence and currently raising her 3rd CCI puppy, Hara III. As an advocate for restorative justice and prison animal programming, she looks forward to resuming her time with the Insight Development Group promoting harm reduction through transformative education in a post COVID-19 time.

From Telos to Anti-Telos: Rock & Pop Choruses, 1964-2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2:00–4:00 p.m.


Reports of the chorus’s death are greatly exaggerated. The chorus has been the dominant feature of rock and pop songs since the mid 1960s, though its role has changed along with popular music’s shifting landscape. In this presentation, UO Professor Drew Nobile  traces the development of a particular type of chorus, which he calls the telos chorus.

Telos choruses begin with a climactic arrival and plateau at a high energetic level, eschewing any internal trajectory and encouraging a significant amount of “rocking out” on the part of the listeners. He will discuss the emergence of telos choruses in the 60s and 70s through their heyday in the dance-obsessed 1980s, to the expansion of the telos idea through the grunge and hip-hop movements in the 90s and 2000s, and ultimately to its subversion in EDM-infused pop of the recently concluded decade. Through examples from Bob Dylan to Nirvana to Taylor Swift, he argues that form in rock and pop is not just a basic template for song design but an inherently expressive feature of the genre.


Drew Nobile is in his sixth year as Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance, where his research centers on the theory and analysis of popular music.

His first book, Form as Harmony in Rock Music, was published in May 2020 on Oxford University Press’s Studies in Music Theory book series. The book offers the first comprehensive theory of form for the “classic” rock and pop repertoire of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Drew’s other research has appeared in Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory, Popular Music, and Music Theory Online.

The Life and Death of Democracy

Wednesday, May 26, 10:00 a.m.–noon


“Democracy as a form of government has been an ideal since antiquity, but in the scope of world history, democracy as a dominant form of governance has only lasted for relatively short time periods, and the ideal may be in a precarious position again.” Join Central Oregon Community College history professor Murray Godfrey for a reprise of his outstanding discussion of “some of history’s most successful and unsuccessful democracies, the circumstances of their rise and fall, recent analogues, and implications for the future.” He originally gave this outstanding presentation for the Deschutes Public Library’s series, “Know Government.”

About the Presenter

Murray Godfrey is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department at Central Oregon Community College. He received a Master of Arts degree in history from Texas State University, specializing in the history of 17th and 18th century North America.

One Hundred Sketchbooks

Wednesday, May 26, 2:00–4:00 p.m.


UO Professor Emeritus Kenneth O'Connell has been keeping a sketchbook journal since his high school days at South Eugene High School. Ken’s sketches are amazing, and he is well known for his sketchbooks (he’s filled one hundred of them!) and sketchbook workshops. In this presentation, Ken will present and discuss his art for an OLLI-UO audience.

Since retiring from the UO Art Department in 2006, where earlier he had been chair, Ken has taught ten to twelve “The Spirit of the Rough Sketch” workshops each year through art centers and community programs along the Oregon Coast and in Italy.


Kenneth O’Connell taught at UO for twenty-eight years and was Chair of the Department of Art for twelve years. He introduced computers in the arts and co-directed the Pacific Northwest Computer Graphics Conference.

O'Connell's artwork over the past fifty-seven years was on exhibition at the Karin Clarke Gallery in August 2020. It included drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, sketchbooks, comics, and two of his short films.

Professor O’Connell received his BS and MFA degrees from the Department of Art in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon.

Applying Social Science Research for Collaborative Solutions to Environmental Crises

Thursday, May 27, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Join Dr. Hollie Smith, University of Oregon Assistant Professor of Science and Environmental Communication, for a look at research in science communication as it relates to journalism and environmental issues. Dr. Smith is accompanied by doctoral student Meredith Jacobsen for a critical look at wildfire issues in the Western U.S. Dr. Smith and Jacobsen walk us through a case study of how wildfire is discussed in different public domains, the importance of shared meaning, and how communication can lead to collaborative solutions. The case study is a cooperative project between scholars at the University of Oregon, Northwest Fire Science Consortium, Oregon State University, and Colorado State University.

About the PresenterS

Dr. Smith is an applied social science researcher whose work focuses on communication dimensions of science and environmental issues. Her work has examined communication and media dynamics of issues in federal forest policy, water contamination, climate change, and alternative energy transitions. She has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Professor Smith received her PhD in communication and sustainability from the University of Maine.

Meredith Jacobsen is a PhD student at the University of Oregon in the Environmental Studies Program and Sociology Department. She studies sociological dimensions of forest and fire governance, asking questions about how collective action takes place across socio-cultural, geographic, and political boundaries. At the University of Oregon, she has worked on research with the Ecosystem Workforce Program and the Tribal Climate Change Project. As a non-Native scholar, she’s particularly interested in how non-Native people are approaching Tribal partnerships in land management. Meredith holds a BS in forestry from UC Berkeley and an MS in forest ecosystems and society from Oregon State University.

About the Series

This lecture is part of the Earth Science and the Environment lecture series. The format features guest presenters, followed by a discussion and Q&A session. Content for each lecture is drawn from recent events or developments in Earth science, climate change, and the environment. Key components for each session are 1) advocacy and 2) learning. The series is coordinated by OLLI-UO members Suzanne Butterfield and Marc Rogge.

Travelogue: Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sudan

Friday, June 4, 10:00 a.m.–noon


Join experienced traveler Dave Pottinger as he revisits, with photographs and commentary, three countries in eastern Africa, Ethiopia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and the Republic of Sudan.

Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent, with more than 100 million people. The country is home to the oldest evidence of anatomically modern humans. A highlight of this area was a visit to the National Museum where Addis Ababa’s most famous resident, Lucy, resides.

Djibouti is a mostly French- and Arabic-speaking country across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Djibouti City, with 600,000 inhabitants, contains more than 60 percent of the nation’s population and is a busy maritime port.

Sudan is the third-largest country in Africa and has 37 million inhabitants. Its official languages are Arabic and English, and the predominant religion is Islam. Sudan has 255 pyramids, about twice as many as Egypt.


Dave and his wife Paula visited the three countries in November 2018. He comments that the “trip was a challenging adventure and turned out to be one of our most memorable.” He is president of the Eugene Symphony.

Retrospective: Artist Kenneth O’Connell

Wednesday, June 9, 2:00–4:00 p.m.


In this special lecture and video retrospective, UO Professor Emeritus Kenneth O'Connell will present his drawings, sketchbooks, paintings, prints, photography, animation, and ceramic works, dating from 1963-2020. While best known for his sketchbooks, Ken has worked in a impressive variety of art forms: from watercolors done in Long Beach while in the U.S. Navy to silkscreen prints done in Florence, Italy to black and white photos done in Japan, to name just a few.

A professionally-shot video of O'Connell walking through his retrospective exhibit (during summer 2020) at the Karin Clarke Gallery in Eugene is featured. O'Connell will entertain a Q & A session to conclude the presentation.


Kenneth O’Connell taught at UO for twenty-eight years and was Chair of the Department of Art for twelve years. He introduced computers in the arts and co-directed the Pacific Northwest Computer Graphics Conference.

O'Connell is known for us sketchbooks and sketchbook workshops. His “The Spirit of the Rough Sketch” workshops along the Oregon Coast and in Italy have been very popular.

Professor O’Connell received his BS and MFA degrees from the Department of Art in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon.

International Relations Special Session: Malaysia

Wednesday, June 16, 5:00–7:00 p.m.



About the Presenter


The Wild Freedom of the Mountain Men

Wednesday, June 23, 2:00–4:00 p.m


Do you remember movies like 1971’s Man in the Wilderness with Richard Harris? Or Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford in 1972? Or Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant in 2015? These were all films about Mountain Men braving the dangers of the far western American wilderness in search of beaver pelts and other saleable furs in the first half of the 19th century.

In the words of historian Francis Parkman, “I defy the annals of chivalry to furnish the record of a life more wild and perilous than that of a Rocky Mountain trapper” in pursuit of elusive fortune. In the process, these trappers discovered marvelous places like Yellowstone and the Great Salt Lake and found passes through the Rockies and the Sierras that later streams of pioneers in wagon trains would use to reach California and Oregon. They were the first to cross the great American desert – some on foot and alone. They became masters of innovation and survival and provided us some of the most thrilling early American West adventure stories.

Somehow, though, the memories of all that they were and all that they did faded from much of our national memory. The Mountain Men today are often little more than footnotes in our national story. But they were more than that.

Join author Gary Hartzell for an introduction to their unique personalities, lives, adventures, exploits, and contributions to the Spirit of the West.


Gary Hartzell completed his doctorate at UCLA and joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he taught in Master's and Doctoral degree programs. Now Professor Emeritus at UNO, he is an internationally known speaker on librarian-principal relationships and was a member of the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries Advisory Committee.

Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime

Tuesday, June 29, 3:00–5:00 p.m.


Why is it that in the midst of a war, one can still find gardens? Wartime gardens are dramatic examples of what landscape architect Kenneth Helphand calls defiant gardens—gardens created in extreme social, political, economic, or cultural conditions. Based on Helphand’s award-winning book Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime this illustrated talk examines gardens of war in the 20th century—a period of the deadliest wars in human history—including gardens soldiers built inside and behind the trenches in World War I; gardens built in the Warsaw and other ghettos under the Nazis during World War II; gardens in the POW and civilian internment camps of both world wars; and gardens created by Japanese Americans held at U.S. internment camps during World War II.

Informative and inspirational, this rich history of gardens during wartime documents how gardens have humanized landscapes and experience, even under the direst conditions. Defiant Gardens brings to light a history that has never been studied and moving stories never before told. While gardens during war is the vehicle, the significance of the subject is the meaning of gardens and garden making. The presentation is current, addressing gardening during recent wars and the pandemic.


Kenneth I. Helphand FASLA is Philip H. Knight Professor of Landscape Architecture Emeritus at the University of Oregon where he has taught courses in landscape history, theory and design since 1974. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He is the recipient of distinguished teaching awards from the University of Oregon and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. Helphand has guest lectured at dozens of universities and is a frequent visiting professor at the Technion—the Israel Institute of Technology. He is the author of numerous articles and reviews on topics in landscape history and theory with a particular interest in the contemporary American landscape.

Helphand is the author of the award-winning books: Colorado: Visions of an American Landscape. (1991), Yard Street Park: The Design of Suburban Open Space (with Cynthia Girling 1994), Dreaming Gardens: Landscape Architecture & the Making of Modern Israel. (2002), Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime (2006), Lawrence Halprin. (2017) and HOPS: Historic Photographs of the Oregon Hopscape (2020).  Helphand served as editor of Landscape Journal, is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and CELA, Honorary Member of the Israel Association of Landscape Architects, a recipient of the Bradford Williams Medal, a Graham Foundation Grant, a board member of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, and former Chair of the Senior Fellows in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

Plato, Democracy, Tyranny, and Present America

Wednesday, July 14, 2:00–4:00 p.m


Deeply disturbed by what he saw going on around him as he was growing up in Athens fighting the Peloponnesian war, and enlightened by his conversations with Socrates, Plato saw democracy as a beautiful form of government but one which is always a few steps from a tyranny. In the Republic he lays out this theory as part of his larger discussion of political justice and personal righteousness.

In this session David Kolb will present Plato’s narration of how a democracy slides into tyranny, examine the causes Plato sees for this, and then ask whether we should be worried about this degeneration in our own democracy. We will examine the significant differences between Athenian democracy and our own and then argue that despite the differences we still should be afraid.

This will be lead to a discussion of the rise of populist authoritarian movements today and what in Plato’s view we could do to protect democracy. This will lead us to Plato’s principles for what he thinks would be a truly humane government as well as his discussion of aristocratic, democratic, and tyrannical personality types.


David Kolb received his PhD in philosophy from Yale University, taught at Fordham University, the University of Chicago, Nanzan University in Japan, and at Bates College in Maine as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy. Since 2002 he has devoted himself full-time to writing and lecturing. He is a member of OLLI-UO.

Ecstatic Devotion: Musical Rapture and Erotic Death in 17th and 18th Century Iconography, Operas, and Oratorios

Tuesday, July 20, 3:00–5:00 p.m.


Using art and music, speaker Holly Roberts will connect music to a variety of concepts of the 17th and 18th century, such as the mythical phoenix, martyrdom, and neo-Platonic philosophy.  She will explore divine love, ecstatic rapture, and mysticism as she talks about a number of female saints, in particular Saint Cecilia, who inspired music in Italy in those centuries.


Holly Roberts is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of Oregon, a violinist, and executive director of the Musicking Conference, concerts and lectures that occur in May and are free and open to the public.

Photography: The Art of Seeing

Wednesdays, July 28 & August 4, 2:00–4:00 p.m


From early on in the history of photography we have labored under a pervasive mythology that misrepresents the importance of the camera and misunderstands the role of the photographer. The resulting effect is that many are uneasy about thinking they are a photographer—downplaying their skills in taking photographs and often apologizing for what they do with a camera. Sound familiar?

This two-part series begins with demythologizing what we think of as photography, offering an alternative definition of the photographer. The second session will examine the mind and eye of an introvert camera and provide tips for travel.


Presenter Gordon Nagai is a long-time OLLI-UO member and a highly skilled photographer who has contributed many photographs to OLLI-UO and UO publications.


Courses cover topics in-depth from four to twelve weeks and may require additional reading or preparation. Registration may be required. Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated.

England, The 1960s, and the Triumph of The Beatles

Tuesdays, April 6–May 11, 9:30–11:30 a.m.


The Beatles led a revolution in the 1960s that changed everything, transcending their initial success as a pop band to become one of the most compelling voices against the  status quo. Unlike a music survey, this Great Courses series focuses on the unknown history of the band, giving the cultural backstory of how the group emerged as a worldwide phenomenon. With the advantages that only hindsight can afford, Great Courses lecturer Professor Michael Sheldon reconstructs this incredible period in history to discover how England shaped the Beatles—and how, in turn, the Beatles shaped England and the world.

Discussion and supplemental materials for these sessions are supplied by member-facilitators, augmented by lessons from the Great Courses professor.


April 6: The Magical Mystery of the Beatles; Fateful Intersections in Liverpool. Facilitator: Terry Schwab

April 13: Finding the Beat in the Beatles; Nowhere Men: The Dark Side of the Beatles. Facilitator: Terry Schwab

April 20: Beatles for Sale: Brian Epstein’s Genius; The Cold War, JFK, and the Beatles. Facilitator: Judy Hurlburt

April 27: The Beatles Conquer America; The Englishness of a Hard Day’s Night. Facilitator: Terry Schwab

May 4: Help! The Beatles at the Top in 1965; Crossroads: The Beatles in 1966. Facilitator: Terry Schwab

May 11: The Summer of Sgt. Pepper’s; Hello, Goodbye: The End of the 1960s. Facilitator: Terry Schwab


Michael Shelden is a professor of English at Indiana State University, where he has won the top award for excellence in scholarship, the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award, three times. He earned his PhD in English from Indiana University. He has published several biographies and his books have been on the New York Times Best Sellers list.


Terry Schwab

Social Commentary: Satire through the Ages

Thursdays, April 29–May 13, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Registration is closed.

Registration is required and will start April 8.


Satire can be found as far back as ancient Egypt, but it really gained recognition in the 16th century. A main feature of satire is irony, and writers have employed parody, farce, exaggeration, and juxtaposition as frequent tools in their satirical arsenal. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often as social criticism, using wit to call attention to various societal issues. Frequent targets may include politics, economy, religion, class, race, sex, celebrity, and other realms of power. Through an exploration of the classifications or modes of satire, we will explore excerpts from literature, essays, cartoons, and media like memes and television shows in our quest to gain a better understanding of how satire works, who it endeavors to target, and why it is so effective.


Ann Sargent is a former college textbook editor and high school English teacher and has been teaching at the community college level for 13 years, currently as a writing instructor at Central Oregon Community College. She previously taught OLLI courses in American literature at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and is a favorite return presenter of OLLI-UO Central Oregon members.

A History of Eastern Europe

Tuesdays, May 18–August 10, 9:30–11:30 a.m.


Eastern Europe is often thought of as the “Other Europe,” yet it has a rich and interesting history. Wedged between Western Europe, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, it has been a volatile corner of the world. Join award-winning lecturer Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius in a Great Courses Plus program examining 20 Eastern European nations stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans. We journey from the Middle Ages up to the end of the 19th century and then turn our focus to the impact of WWI, WWII, Soviet control, and finally, freedom on this critical area of the world.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, these countries have become popular travel destinations. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the history of Eastern Europe before your next trip to these enchanted lands!

Discussion and supplemental materials for these sessions are supplied by member-facilitators, augmented by lessons from the Great Courses professor.


May 18: The Other Europe: Deep Roots of Diversity; Formative Migrations: Mongols to Germans. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

May 25: Clashing Golden Ages, 1389-1772; The Great Crime of Empires: Poland Divided. Facilitator: Maggi Machala

June 1: The Origins of Nationalism, 1815–1863; The Age of Empires, 1863–1914. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

June 8: Jewish Life in the Shtetl; World War I: Destruction and Rebirth. Facilitator: Howard Schuman

June 15: From Democrats to Dictators, 1918–1939; Caught Between Hitler and Stalin. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

June 22: World War II: The Unfamiliar Eastern Front; The Holocaust and the Nazi Racial Empire. Facilitator: Keith Sime

June 29: Postwar Flight and Expulsion; Behind the Iron Curtain, 1945–1953. Facilitator: Steve Koller

July 6: NO CLASS

July 13: Forest Brothers: Baltic Partisan Warfare; Life in Totalitarian Captivity, 1953–1980. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

July 20: Power of the Powerless: Revolts and Unrest; Solidarity in Poland: Walesa’s Union. Facilitator: Judy Hurlburt

July 27: Toppling Idols: The Communist Collapse; The Turn: The Post-Soviet 1990s. Facilitator: Steve Koller

August 3: Yugoslav Wars: Milosevic and Balkan Strife; The New Europe: Joining NATO and the EU. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

August 10: The Unfolding Ukraine-Russia Crisis; Eastern Europe at the Crossroads. Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro

About the Presenter

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius earned his his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and won the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Course Manager

Bill Taliaferro

Study and Discussion Groups

Study and discussion groups are designed as an informal exchange of ideas in a considerate atmosphere. Group topics are well-defined and explored in-depth. Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated.

Central Oregon Writers' Bloc

Mondays, 10:00 a.m.–noon


A casual gathering for writers at all levels to share in a supportive environment. Creative experimentation with styles and genres encouraged.

At this time, this group is only open to Central Oregon members.


Bruce Sharp

Meditation and Mindfulness

Mondays, noon–1:00 p.m.


This group utilizes what is known as Vipassana (or breath or insight) meditation, focusing on the sensation of breathing. Insight meditation utilizes the five senses to get us to awareness and being present.

The first 10 or 15 minutes of class is spent in a guided grounding meditation. The next 15-20 minutes of class are spent listening to an Internet mindfulness/meditation teacher on a variety of subjects. The last 20 minutes are spent in silent meditation.

There are many different levels of meditation being practiced by the group: some are beginners, some are returning to the practice through this group, and some are advanced meditators who are here to experience the benefits of group meditation and a sense of community (sangha).


Janice Friend

Philosophy Salon

First and Third Mondays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.


A peer-led exploration of philosophers and philosophy. Each session features either a presentation by a group member or a recorded lecture, followed by discussion.


January 4: no meeting

January 18: no meeting in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday

February 1: Eudaimonia, Part 1: Quest for the Good Life

Greek and Roman philosophers of the Hellenistic age, post Plato and Aristotle, concerned themselves with the question of phronesis, practical wisdom for the conduct of daily life. In this session, Jeffrey Allen will present an overview of the question of Eudaimonia (happiness, or human flourishing) and the four basic philosophical approaches of the age to finding it: Cynicism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism. This program is intended to provide a foundation for David Kolb's session on February 15.

A PDF of advance readings is now available for access in the OLLI-UO Member Portal.

February 15: Eudaimonia, Part 2: "A Shaky Walk Downhill: A Philosopher Moves into Parkinson's World"

David Kolb relates his journey with Parkinson's disease and how the Greco-Roman wisdom philosophers, particularly the Stoics and Epicureans, provide insights that have proven helpful in coping with the disease. In this time of uncertainty, David's experience provides lessons for us all on how to face adversity with dignity and grace.

In advance of the session, David recommends reading his essay about a philosopher's life with a chronic Parkinson's disease. The essay is available for access/download on his website. While the entire work is recommended, Chapters Three (and Four) are most relevant to this discussion on Stoicism.

March 1: Eudaimonia, Part 3: Conclusion (David Kolb, presenter)

March 15: Free Will and Determinism (Milt Janetos, presenter)

The Philosophy Salon will present the main positions in the modern free will debate as well as criticisms leveled against each of them. Ultimately, we might be able to make rational sense of what is called a libertarian free will – the free will we experience daily. Unfortunately, such a free will is arguably something that may not be intelligible in a materialistic, deterministic universe. We will certainly not answer the question as to whether or not we have free will, but as with much philosophy, we can at least try to clarify our ignorance. As we saw in the Intro to Philosophy salon, unanswered questions are the province of philosophy. What we may find is that some, if not all, of these questions are not simply unanswered but unanswerable. You will either choose to attend, or you will be determined by the state of the universe to attend. Perhaps you can explain to the group which one it was and how you know.

A PDF with some background on the history of the free will problem is available on the OLLI-UO Member Portal.

April 5: The Self and Personal Identity

A series of four Great Courses lectures will frame our discussion of the nature of the self and personal identity. Is our common-sense notion of the self as a continuous, existing entity philosophically viable? Answers encompass a variety of philosophical and religious traditions, including the empirical skepticism of Hume and Parfitt and the Buddhist teaching of anattā, or "non-self."

April 19: The Self and Personal Identity (continued)

We continue with our series on personal identity and what preserves it, with two recorded lectures. The first is by David Kyle Johnson, "Are Persons Mere Minds." The second is cognitive psychology researcher Bruce Hood, of the University of Bristol, on "The Illusion of Self."

May 3: The Self and Personal Identity (continued)

We complete our series on personal identity with two Great Courses lectures by David Kyle Johnson, "Are Persons Just Bodies?" and "Are You Really You?"

May 17: Synchronicity, Is It Real? (Jeffrey Allen, presenter)

Almost everyone has experienced remarkable coincidences in daily life. These are sometimes so compelling that they are interpreted as transcendent messages or signs of providential intervention. This is what Jung termed "synchronicity," the acausal connections of events. We will define and probe this idea, first building a case for meaningful coincidence, then subjecting it to philosophical scrutiny to see if it is coherent and plausible. Salon participants will be invited to share their own synchronistic experiences and their personal interpretations of them.

June 7: Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy

We begin a series of Great Courses lectures exploring philosophical ideas suggested by popular science fiction films. Viewing the films beforehand is optional, but highly recommended! This series should be really fun and interesting, so please join us for some engaging discussion.

The session will feature two lectures:

  • "Inception and the Interpretation of Art" (based on the film: Inception)
  • "The Matrix and the Value of Knowledge"


Jeffrey Allen and Milt Janetos

Nonfiction Book Group

First and Third Mondays, 10:15 a.m.–noon

Participation limited but space available; email to be added to the contact list.


The nonfiction book group meets twice per month to discuss a nonfiction book that the group has selected. The books range from political history to the history of science, to biography, exploration, and natural history. We learn a lot about different topics and have a great conversation.


November 30 and December 7: Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame by Michael Kodas. Facilitator: Steve Hussey

January 4 and 25: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, facilitated by Rod Charny

February 1 and 15: The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good by Michael J. Sandel, facilitated by Steve Hussey

March 1 and 15: Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson

April 5 and 19: Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-69 by Stephen E. Ambrose

May 3 and 17: The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen, facilitated by Barbara Carter

June 7 and 21: Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester, facilitated by Richard Romm


Joyce Pickersgill

Page Turners Fiction Book Group

Second Mondays, 10:15 a.m.–noon

This discussion group is full. Email to be added to the waitlist.


We are a lively and very welcoming group of fiction lovers who choose a novel to read and critique as a group every month. Over the course of the year, each member selects and facilitates the spirited discussion of a contemporary or classic novel of less than 400 pages. We have a great time!


December 14: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, facilitated by Ginny Donahue

January 11: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, facilitated by Joyce Pickersgill

February 8: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, facilitated by Karen Hill

March 8: The Milkman by Anna Burns, facilitated by Bill Rozar

April 12: The Other Americans by Laila Lalami, facilitated by Leslie Hopper

May 10: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, facilitated by Linda Rockey

June 14: Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, facilitated by Kay Kelly

July 12: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, facilitated by Deb Hollens

August 9: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, facilitated by Joyce Pickersgill


Deb Hollens


Second and Fourth Mondays, 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.


Focusing on some of the most critical problems in the world, this group takes the next step through study and discussion to identify and propose possible solutions to the problems.

Generally, each session begins with 15–20 minutes of Internet videos introducing the topic while generating questions and talking points for discussion. The topic for each session is emailed a few days in advance of that meeting so participants can familiarize themselves with the topic.




Jerry Brule

French Language I

Mondays, 3:00–4:00 p.m.


French Language I is for those whose listening and speaking skills are a bit rusty. It is not for true beginners. In our 50-minute meetings, we spend the first half of the session encouraging participants to use the French they know to converse with each other about things of interest in their daily lives. We give each other constructive feedback in regards to vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar and help each other when we get stuck. In the second half of the session, if there is time, we read and discuss short texts and listen to native French speakers online, checking to make sure that everyone understands.


Thomas Walker

French Language II

Mondays, 4:00–4:50 p.m.


French Language II is for those who are at the intermediate or advanced level. The 50-minute sessions have no set format, but generally give all participants ample opportunity to speak. One person may do a “show and tell.” At other times, we have lively discussions of current events or share information about cultural events. Participants are fluent enough to keep up with the conversations. Time permitting, we may read and listen to native speakers using online resources such as “News in Slow French” so that we can practice listening to authentic French spoken at normal speed by native speakers.


Thomas Walker

Understanding Science

First, Third, and Fifth Tuesdays, noon–2:00 p.m.


Understanding Science presents outstanding introductory college-level prerecorded science lectures on a common theme or topic. After a lecture, the group discusses it, offers related ideas, and shares information.

No specialized knowledge is required to appreciate these excellent lectures. The lectures are only mildly cumulative in nature, and if you are occasionally unable to attend, this fact should not impede your enjoyment of a single lecture. Emphasis is placed on the natural and the formal sciences, but consideration is also given to a broader perspective that includes the philosophy of science, and the social, behavioral, and applied sciences.

Discussion and supplemental materials for these sessions are supplied by member-facilitators, augmented by lessons from the Great Courses professor.


May 18: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 1–Genes versus DNA, Lecture 2–The Quest for DNA’s Structure

June 1: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 3–The Double Helix Revealed, Lecture 4–From Genetic Codes to DNA Fingerprints

June 15: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 5–The War over the Human Genome, Lecture 6–How DNA Controls Itself and Shapes Our Culture

June 29: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 7–Microbes Manipulate Us, Viruses Are Us, Lecture 8–How Epigenetics Turns Genes On and Off

July 6: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 9–Apes, Humans, and Neanderthals, Lecture 10–How DNA Reveals History

July 20: Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA: Lecture 11–CRISPR’s Rise, Promise, and Peril, Lecture 12–How DNA Redefines Medicine and Our Future


Barbara Nagai and Elizabeth Polidan

Interpretive Play Reading

First and Third Wednesdays, 3:30–5:00 p.m.


The interpretive reading of plays, usually accompanied by some discussion of a play’s merits, information about its author, or other related matters. Members of the group take turns selecting plays to be read. The person making the selection becomes the "director" and casts it from members present. Character changes are made as necessary to make sure that all present get a chance to read.


Donna Bennett, Jack Bennett, and Kate Nelson

Spanish Conversation

Thursdays, 3:15–4:45 p.m.


Our meetings are quite freewheeling and informal. We hope that everyone who wishes has an opportunity to speak. At least they can listen. We "shoot the breeze" (one dictionary translates this as "charlar amable y casualmente"), but we have a little structure: the leaders see to it that we take turns around the table saying in Spanish 1) what's on our minds or new in our lives - we call these "noticias" - and 2) reading and translating from Spanish to English. Occasionally we take up a matter of grammar, when doubt arises. Mind, we have no authority, no teacher. Ultimately, we lift ourselves up by our bootstraps while we have a good time.

Some of us speak Español rather well; others are rusty, but get more fluent as they keep trying, week by week. If you once had a year of Spanish in high school or college, join us for a month or two and see if the language comes back to you!


Stan Cook and Carolin Keutzer

Bell' Italia e Italiano

First and Third Thursdays, noon–1:30 p.m.


If you are fascinated by all things Italian and would like to learn more about the language and culture of this bel paese, this is the right study group for you. We will explore the foods, culture, and customs of Italy's twenty regions while studying the rudiments of the Italian language in a casual, supportive environment.

Learning Italian: Step by Step and Region by Region by Great Courses Plus will provide the group with a basic overview of pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammatical conventions. The course is designed for learners with no prior experience of the language but offers more experienced learners the opportunity to refine their skills.

We will further explore each region with discussions and supplemental videos featuring food, art, architecture and other aspects of the culture. Facilitators are not experts, but rather volunteers who wish to share their love and knowledge of the language and country.

Although previous experience speaking Italian is not necessary, it might be helpful to have some background in speaking or reading a Romance language such as French or Spanish.


Janice D'Emidio, Judy Johnston, Larry Kikuta, Demetri Liontos, and Ellie Miller

News and Views

Second and Fourth Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.–noon


Learning through a lively exchange of views on recent local, national, and world news. A team of volunteers suggest about dozen recent news stories for discussion, in the areas of international, domestic and local. The group and moderators work together to determine what will be discussed. Participants are diverse in their experiences and interests, and they read and watch a wide range of news sources. No additional preparation is necessary. It's OK to disagree with the views of the other participants—but not to be disagreeable.


Roger Galka and Stephen Koller

News and Views: Open Forum

First, Third, and Fifth Fridays 10:00–11:30 a.m.


Join regular attendees of the popular News and Views discussion group (during off-weeks) for an informal "open forum" continuation of discussion of issues of local, state, national, and international importance. Attendees raise topics for discussion and engage with member-facilitators to ensure a free flow of opinions and analysis of that week's biggest news stories.


Jerry Brule and Larry Kikuta

Creative Writing Critique

Second and Fourth Fridays,10:00 a.m.–noon


If you love to write, are a would-be author, or simply seeking a new outlet for your creativity, you are cordially invited to join OLLI-UO's Creative Writing group. We are columnists, essayists, poets, writers of memoirs, and authors of all genres of fiction and non-fiction. Our levels of experience range from those with multiple publication credits to anyone just wanting to try his/her hand.

We meet to encourage creativity-in-common and exchange ideas and information, but our main focus is the sharing of our work. This includes both reading our own and listening to other’s projects-of-choice at any stage from rough draft to completed masterpiece... and offering and accepting ideas, suggestions and gentle, objective, constructive critiques. Everyone is welcome.


Livvie Taylor-Young

Special Events

Join us for periodic social events that supplement our lectures, courses, and groups.

First Thursday Social Hour

First Thursdays, 3:00–4:00 p.m.


We miss seeing each other! We are all doing what we must to stay safe during this pandemic, but it is difficult not being together. Through our offerings of Zoom classes and meetings, we have found that people are showing up to the meeting early to chat with each other. We realized we don't need a meeting or a class to do this! Mark your calendars to join us virtually on the first Thursdays of the month. Bring your beverage of choice and join us! This social hour is open to members of all sites.

It really makes a surprising difference in our outlook just to see each other on the computer and talk. We hope to see you there!


Central Oregon Membership Committee

Second Friday Coffee Hour

Second Fridays, 10:00–11:00 a.m.


Wake up with OLLI-UO each second Friday of the month! Join fellow members from all three program sites for coffee, tea, and conversation.


Elizabeth Polidan, Central Oregon Membership Chair

Fourth Friday Meet and Greet

Fourth Fridays, 2:00–3:30 p.m.


Get together with your fellow members at our regular OLLI-UO Meet and Greet on the 4th Friday every month!

Please stop in and visit for a while! This is designed as a drop-in event. You need not join exactly at the meeting start—feel free to stay for as long or as little as you like. We always have a nice, fun group of people at our Meet and Greets who enjoy a strictly social OLLI-UO event. Remember, making friends and building community is essential for our mental health!


Hannelore Burnstein, Eugene/Springfield Membership Committee


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon