Continuing and Professional Education

OLLI-UO Program Schedule

Current OLLI-UO program offerings are listed below. Select each title to see a full description.

Program offerings take place via Zoom and are open to all members at both program sites (Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield), unless otherwise indicated in the listing. Zoom links are provided by email prior to the start date.


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.

Armchair Traveler: African Safari and Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Wednesday, August 5, 10:00 a.m.–noon

OLLI-UO in Central Oregon member Larry Weinberg presents a slideshow and talk about his 2013 adventure in Tanzania, East Africa. Larry spent three weeks there, including a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa) and a ten-day safari. The climb involved a seven-day trek (5.5 up and 1.5 down) complete with guide, cook, and five porters. You will get to see the sun come up over Africa—or at least a picture of the sun doing so. The safari included Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, the Serengeti, and several other national parks. Watch lions, leopards and cheetahs; hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. If you actually want to see the real thing, you will just have to go yourself.


Larry Weinberg retired from Boeing and moved to Bend in 2005. He has been active with OLLI-UO since then and has given several travel presentations, as well as classes. He loves to hike and has traveled in both the U.S. and abroad–with the exception of 2020. He volunteers with the Deschutes Land Trust and the nongovernmental organization Ten Friends.

The History of the Pixel

Wednesday, August 12, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

Although "pixel" is a modern word (from 1965), the use of pixel points of information to convey a visual image can be documented as long as 6,000 years ago in Babylonia. Pixels are the essential ingredient in mosaics, impressionist painting, film photography, half-tone printing onto paper, and most recently digital photography. The technique has deep roots in animal biology. OLLI-UO in Central Oregon member John Rhetts takes us through an exploration of the pixel, complete with a plethora of illustrations.


John Rhetts is a PhD psychologist, former professor at University of Minnesota, held a psychology private practice for 25 years in Minnesota, and is a 25-year resident of Bend. John has been studying the foibles of human decision making for 50+ years, is a long-time amateur photographer, and taught two courses on editing digital photographs for OLLI-UO in Central Oregon.

Armchair Traveler: Oslo and Svalbard—Winter Travel in the Norwegian Arctic

Thursday, August 13, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

In 2017, OLLI-UO in Central Oregon members Steve Hussey and Terry Schwab embarked on an adventure to Oslo, Norway, and the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. They share their travels to fabulous museums like the Viking Ship museum, Resistance Museum and Vigesland Park–along with a beautiful fjord cruise, visit to a Russian coal mining town, and a hike inside an ice cave.


Steve Hussey and Terry Schwab

Speeches in Times of Change

Wednesdays, August 19, 26, and September 2, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Registration is required and is limited to 25 participants. This CO course will open to E/S if space is available.
Registration is closed.

Registration begins the first week of August; watch your email for the announcement.


Offered via Zoom; the meeting ID will be shared in the Friday e-minders the weeks prior to the class. Please contact if you do not receive the meeting information.


Back by popular demand, Ann Sargent returns to lead a three-session study of speeches given by some of the most influential people in history during times that were fraught with concern for human rights and necessitated a call for action.

Ann briefly examines the rhetorical elements that drive any sort of communication, whether written or oral. She also addresses rhetorical appeals and figurative language so that we can better understand the structure and elements that make some speeches so powerful.

Through the study of complete speeches as well as some excerpts, the class explores Native American rights, women’s rights, war-time leaders, civil rights, and political leaders. Aside from introductory and overview information, the class consists of guided discussion regarding the power of speeches and the movements they can fuel.

Ann Sargent is a much beloved instructor here at OLLI-UO in Central Oregon, having offered classes for us in the American short story, social issues in literature, and memoirs. She is a master at getting everyone involved in the discussion.

Ann has a Bachelor of Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts in Education from Roosevelt University, Chicago. She was an English teacher at Illinois Central College, East Peoria, from 2002 to 2008 and taught OLLI classes at Bradley University in Illinois before moving to Bend. She has been a writing instructor at Central Oregon Community College since 2009.

Registration is required and is limited to 25 participants for this workshop. Materials will be made available to participants ahead of time on the OLLI-UO member portal.


Linda Redeker


Wednesdays, August 19, 26, and September 2, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

Confederate Statues and the "Lost Cause"

Monday, August 24, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

As of 2020, there are more than 1,700 public monuments, including over 700 statues of varying size, commemorating the Confederate States of America or its prominent leaders. In summer 2020, dozens of them have been removed by authorities, while some have been defaced or destroyed by protestors. COCC professor Murray Godfrey will discuss the "Lost Cause" interpretation of Civil War history that largely inspired the construction of these monuments, their lasting legacy, and the continuing efforts in various parts of the country to remove them.


Murray A. Godfrey is Associate Professor of American History and Chair of the World Languages and Cultures department at Central Oregon Community College, where he has worked since 2012. He received a Master of Arts degree in History from Texas State University specializing in the history of 17th and 18th century North America and military history. Prior to coming to Central Oregon, Murray previously taught for Austin Community College in Austin and Alamo Community College District in San Antonio, Texas.

From DOS to the Cloud: Intro to Computers

Thursday, August 27 and Thursday, September 10, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
This lecture-training is one session in length and will be repeated on September 10.

Registration is required and is limited to 15 participants per session.


This lecture-training session has been created to help you understand your personal computer better, whether you use a Windows or Mac device. We will cover terminology, hardware and software, changes to settings, and managing folders and files. You’ll learn about networks and how Wi-Fi fits in. There will be time for Q&A at the end.


E/S member Deb Sorensen was born in Texas and spent her childhood moving from one USAF base to another. By high school she had arrived in Spokane, where her husband, Dunny, was born and raised. They met in their school’s marching band, married in 1972, and recently celebrated their 48th anniversary. Deb and Dunny have made Eugene their home since 1975, when they moved here so Dunny could attend grad school at UO.

Deb graduated from Linfield with a degree in business management. She worked for the City Attorney’s office, Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), and 4J, prior to starting her own software training business in the early 1980s. She taught classes primarily for public organizations, including cities, counties, special districts, utilities, the State of Oregon, and UO. Over the years, Deb served on the Bethel School and LCOG boards, several arts boards, and numerous committees. She loves cycling, singing, reading and hosting dinner parties.

Becoming Leonardo

Tuesday, September 1, 10:00 a.m.–noon

Leonardo da Vinci, superhuman icon of the High Renaissance, is often considered the most creative person in all of history. Mike Lankford, writer and COCC writing instructor, takes a close look at the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci. He focuses on on what is known, but also the fictions we tell about this extraordinary historical figure. Was Leonardo the most creative person ever? Did he invent the modern world? Join us for a fascinating exploration of these and other questions.


Mike Lankford is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and has been an editor/teacher for thirty years. His previous works include essays, newspaper opinion columns, short stories, and book reviews. He is the author of Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer, a top ten music critic’s book of the year, and Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci, a Wall Street Journal 2017 top ten nonfiction book of the year. He currently teaches at Central Oregon Community College.

Botany Meets Biology in the High Desert: the Plight of the Sage-grouse

Tuesday, September 15, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

Dr. Stu Garrett, sage-grouse coordinator for East Cascades Audubon Society, presents the unusual biology of the sage-grouse and how it adapts to the challenging ecology of the sagebrush steppe. Historical events have led to the changing condition of the plant communities of the Oregon high desert. Dr. Garrett examines the concerning decrease in the grouse population and the threat that changing vegetation and other factors play in its possible demise.


Dr. Garrett practiced family medicine in Bend from 1978 to 2012. He co-founded the local chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon and served as state president of that organization. He served on the state boards of The Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Environmental Council, the University of Oregon Museum Of Natural and Cultural History, and the Native Plant Society of Oregon. He was Chairman of the Newberry Volcanoes Citizens Committee, which successfully sought the Congressional designation of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in 1990.

Deep Sleep for Old Brains

Thursday, September 17, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Dr. Don Tucker of the UO Department of Psychology visits OLLI-UO via Zoom to present his research into the brain physiology of sleep, one of the most exciting topics in human neuroscience today. Deep sleep, where there are large electrical discharges from brain networks, seems particularly important to healthy aging. We are learning that sleep is essential for forming memories, as the neural activity of the day is organized in ways that allow it to be retained in the brain's neural networks. Moreover, the byproducts of the brain's daily metabolism (which are toxic) are cleared out in deep sleep. A natural consequence of aging is a decline in the deep sleep. This decline could explain two related but separate problems of aging: (1) the decline of memory, and (2) the build-up of neurotoxins that cause Alzheimer's Disease.

About the Speaker

Dr. Don Tucker is interested in the neural mechanisms of experience and behavior. His research uses methods of cognitive psychology to assess the influence of specific forms of emotional arousal, such as anxiety and depression. To assess the neural activity associated with emotional states and cognitive operations, this research includes computerized analysis of the electrical activity of the brain with dense array EEG measures. In addition, electrical currents are applied to the brain through noninvasive surface (EEG) electrodes, in the method called Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (TES).

Current research involves TES to synchronize the slow waves of sleep, to improve sleep and thereby improve memory consolidation. This research examines multiple features of the neurophysiology of sleep that may be important for memory. These include the corticothalamic control of sleep spindles or the frontal and medial temporal circuits that generate the slow waves of sleep.

Wine Labeling

Thursdays, September 24 and October 1, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

Wine labels—they're here to help, but they can just as easily confuse, frustrate, and embarrass us. Ease your mind and expand your choices by joining professional wine writer Pete Holland in this two-part lecture on decoding the mysteries of wine labels.

  • September 24: Winemaking, Terminology, and the New World Label
  • October 1: The Old World Winemaking and Labels
About the Speaker

Pete Holland has taught about wine at OLLI at Vanderbilt University. He is a professional writer in the wine industry and earned an MFA in nonfiction from Oregon State University.

Camp Amache: An American Story—WWII Internment of a Japanese American Family

Thursday, October 8, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

December 7, 1941 ushered in one of the darkest, most tragic episodes in our history as a nation: the evacuation and internment of persons of Japanese ancestry away from the West Coast. The Nagai family was interned outside of Granada in the Amache concentration camp in southeastern Colorado. E/S member Gordon Nagai will share the experiences of his family in camp against the backdrop of the Japanese American community in exile, touching on the impact and hardships endured as well as the legacy for the future coming out of the experience.

His story has a stunning conclusion: He presents the dark tragedy of the internment and a remarkable and unexpected resolution. He believes the entire evacuation and internment experience ultimately was also one of the brightest, most shining moments in our nation’s history, and he will tell us why.


Gordon Nagai was born in Merced, California in 1938 to a Nisei mother and Issei father. He was four years old when his family was uprooted and interned in August of 1942 in a concentration camp outside Granada, Colorado. His family returned to the family farm in late 1945 when Camp Amache closed in October of that year.

Gordon grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California in the late 1940s and mid-50s, and graduated with a Masters in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley in 1963. He worked as a social worker and photographer. He retired in 2000 following a heart attack, recovered nicely, and settled into retirement in Eugene in 2007, where he enjoys retirement and time with his four grandchildren. He is an active and dedicated OLLI-UO member and volunteer.

Middle Eastern American Theatre: A Polycultural Mosaic

Wednesday, October 14, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Dr. Michael Malek Najjar will present this lecture on contemporary Middle Eastern American theatre, providing a background history and culture of the diverse groups, Arab, Israeli, and others, who live in the U.S. He will discuss a number of plays written and produced in the U.S. and will show  clips from a selection of performances. 


Dr. Michael Malek Najjar is an Associate Professor in the UO Department of Theatre Arts. Dr. Najjar's research interests include Contemporary Arab American Theatre and Performance, Contemporary Theatre, Ethnic Studies, Cricital Race Theory, and Arab American Studies. He holds a B.A. from the University of New Mexico, an M.F.A. from York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Courses cover topics in-depth from four to twelve weeks and may require additional reading or preparation. Registration is required.

Geography of East Asia

Tuesdays, September 15–October 27, noon–1:30 p.m.
Registration opens in mid-August; space is limited. This E/S course will open to CO if space is available.

This course examines dynamic political-economic and sociocultural changes in East Asia by looking at the physical and human roots influencing rapid modernization within an ancient cultural framework. The format of the course is a combination of lecture and discussion.

Reading assignments in the full syllabus should be completed before the class period in order to participate in class discussion and benefit from the material presented.


Week 1: Geographic Basics – East Asia as a Physical and Cultural Region

Week 2: China – Historical Roots

Week 3: China – Revolutions, Industrialization, and Urbanization

Week 4: China’s Periphery – Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, Xinjiang

Week 5: Japan – Tradition to Transition, Meiji to Modern

Week 6: Four Tigers – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Week 7: Culture – Food, Film, and Summary

Week 7: Culture – Food, Film, and Summary

About the Instructor

OLLI-UO in Eugene/Springfield member Susan Walcott is a Professor of Geography Emerita at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and formerly at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Dr. Walcott’s research interests concern regional economic development, particularly in rapidly transitioning areas throughout Asia. Books, chapters and articles focus on high technology parks and industry clusters (life science, furniture, tea) across the U.S. and China, modernization in Bhutan, and immigrant entrepreneurs.

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.

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.

  • July 20: Bertrand Russell's "A Free Man's Worship"
  • August 3: No meeting
  • August 17: No meeting
  • September 7: No meeting; Labor Day holiday
  • September 21: Political Philosophy
  • October 5: Political Philosophy
  • October 19: Political Philosophy
  • November 2: TBD
  • November 16: TBD
  • December 7: TBD
  • December 21: TBD

Jeffrey Allen, Milton Janetos, and Henry Sholar

Nonfiction Book Group

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

Offered via Zoom; the meeting ID will be shared in the Friday e-minder the week prior to the class. Please contact if you do not receive the meeting information.


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.


August 31 and September 21: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill... by Erik Larson

October 5 and 9: Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame by Michael Kodas

November 2 and 16: Mudlark: In Search of London's Past along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem

December 7: The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina


Joyce Pickersgill


First and third Mondays of the month, September 2020–June 2021, 10:15 a.m.–noon

Page Turners Fiction Book Group

Second Mondays, 10:15 a.m.–noon

Offered via Zoom; the meeting ID will be shared in the Friday e-minder the week prior to the class. Please contact if you do not receive the meeting information.


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!


September 14: The Overstory by Richard Powers, facilitated by Karen Jacques

October 12: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, facilitated by Kathryn Cullen

November 9: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, facilitated by Terry Schwab


Deb Hollens


Second Monday of the month, September 2020–June 2021, 10:15 a.m.–noon


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

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


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.

  • July 27: Alternative Medicines
  • August 10: Education Reform
  • August 24: Undocumented Immigrants
  • September 14: TBD
  • September 28:Reducing Hunger and Malnutrition
  • October 12: Infrastructure: Green New Deal?
  • October 26: Nuclear Power: Thorium or Uranium?
  • November 9: Homelessness
  • November 23: Volcanic Winter
  • December 14: TBD
  • December 28: No meeting; OLLI-UO Winter Break

Jerry Brule

Tuesday Afternoon Science

June 30, July 14 and 28, August 11 and 25, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Offered via Zoom; the meeting ID will be shared in the Friday e-minder the week prior to the class. Please contact if you do not receive the meeting information.


We have an enthusiastic group of science-minded people who enjoy presenting various topics in from all areas of science. They explore theories, research, and discuss related ideas and information among group members.


Topics and materials for each week will be posted on the online discussion board. Most members have already been added to the board; if you need assistance, please contact


Russ Hopper and Elizabeth Polidan


June 30, July 14 and 28, August 11 and 25, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

International Relations

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

Members 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. The group focuses on international affairs, history, current global developments and U.S. foreign policy.

  • July 15: Woramai's Walk: Thai Nationalism and Identity with Dr. John Grima, former Peace Corps in Thailand
  • August 5: No meeting
  • August 19: No meeting
  • September 2: Hong Kong Update with Dr. Byrna Goodman, UO Professor of History
  • September 16: Ethiopia and "Reach Another" Program with John Moseley, former UO Provost
  • October 7: TBD
  • October 21: TBD
  • November 4: TBD
  • November 18: TBD
  • December 2: TBD
  • December 16: TBD

Susan Walcott and Howard Schuman

Interpretive Play Reading

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

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


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

News and Views

Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.–noon

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


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

Earth Science and the Environment

Fourth Thursdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Offered via Zoom; the meeting ID will be shared in the Friday e-minder the week prior to the class. Please contact if you do not receive the meeting information.


For some of us, concern for the Earth’s environment is front and center in our lives. We were in college at a time when environmental activism was born in the U.S. and for some of us, the love of our planet and humanity is as strong as ever. Studies of the Earth’s environment have made major strides in the past few decades due to new sensors, new data, and better models.


The Earth Science and the Environment Discussion Group (ESE) meets once a month for two hours. The content for each meeting is drawn from recent events or developments in Earth science, climate change, and the environment. Each meeting is divided into two segments:

  1. An Advocacy segment where attendees share information or invited guests speak about Earth advocacy organizations, upcoming events, and current issues that may not be widely known, with the goal of increasing awareness of advocacy organizations and opportunities to get involved as individuals.
  2. A Learning segment where attendees or invited guest speakers make technical presentations or lead discussions intended to inform and educate members about environmental data or information, new discoveries, clarification of current environmental issues, dispel misinformation, and many other factors. The goal of this segment is to provide attendees with a better and deeper understanding of the issues facing humanity and our Earth.

The meetings are attendee-driven and designed to maximize the sharing of knowledge between all attendees.


Fourth Thursday of the month, 2:00–4:00 p.m.


Suzanne Butterfield and Ron Polidan

Classics Book Group

Exchanges information via email; contact for more details.

Creative Writing Critique

Exchanges information via email; contact for more details.

Drop-in Meditation Time

Exchanges information via email; contact for more details.

French Language

Exchanges information via email; contact for more details.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Exchanges information via email; contact for more details.

Special Events

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

Fourth Friday Meet and Greet (Eugene/Springfield)

Fourth Fridays, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

Get together with your fellow members at our monthly OLLI-UO in Eugene/Springfield Meet and Greet, now on Zoom!

We plan to run the event like this: once the Zoom meeting opens and folks have settled in, organizers will provide a welcome and short overview of the format. Then, we will launch breakout rooms for small-group conversation. Between two to four randomly-selected participants will go into a breakout room and chat for ten to fifteen minutes. Participants need not do anything to set up a breakout room; this will be done by the meeting host.

At the one-minute mark of the breakout, a room will receive an alert and a countdown clock will appear. Then, you will be automatically returned to the full meeting. If you already know each other, you will surely have something to talk about, and if you haven’t met before, get to know a new friend! We will repeat the breakouts once or twice in a session and come together as a group at the end of the session.

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 & Greets who enjoy a strictly social OLLI-UO event. Remember, making friends and building community is essential for our mental health!

First Thursday Social Hour (Central Oregon)

First Thursdays, 3:00–4:00 p.m.

We member-leaders miss seeing you! 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! Starting in August, we will be holding monthly OLLI-UO in Central Oregon virtual social hours. Mark your calendars for the first Thursdays of the month. Bring your beverage of choice and join us!

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!


Elizabeth Polidan, Central Oregon Membership Chair

Kathryn Cullen, Central Oregon Governing Council President

New Member Welcome (Central Oregon)

Monday, August 10, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

For all those OLLI-UO in Central Oregon members who joined before or during our in-person program hiatus, please join us the second Monday of August. The Welcome is a great way to get to know fellow new members and leaders on the Governing Council. We share experiences and helpful hints on how to best maximize your OLLI-UO experience. We ask that you register using the button above. We look forward to getting to know you!


Elizabeth Polidan, Central Oregon Membership Chair, with leaders of the CO Governing Council and committees


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon