Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Continuing and Professional Education

Eugene/Springfield Courses and Activities

Current Eugene/Springfield course offerings are listed below. We welcome member proposals for study or discussion groups! Complete the course proposal form online, contact the OLLI-UO office, or the Eugene/Springfield Program Chair, if you're interested in proposing or leading a new group.

July/August 2018 Courses and Activities

Featured This Summer
Wednesday, July 11, noon–1:30 p.m.

Technology is often considered a cure-all to our modern challenges. It is, undeniably, a powerful tool in addressing our greatest endeavors. Whether it be automation, the iPhone, or gene editing, some say our technical capacities have outstripped our moral knowledge. Others believe they have provided us immense creativity in dealing with our biggest ethical questions. Are these mutually exclusive? How does technology shape our moral reasoning and our perceptions of, and relationships with, one another?

OLLI-UO is hosting this free conversation with Manuel Padilla, sponsored by the Conversation Project of Oregon Humanities The event is open to the public, so feel free to bring friends. Padilla is executive director of Portland Meet Portland and is a teacher and consultant in the areas of dialogue, conflict transformation, social change, and international aid and development.

Monday, July 16, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Mark Osterloh will be discussing his recently published book, Faultfinders: The Impact of Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is the most devastating, least understood and hardest to recognize mental illness. Osterloh will discuss the behavior of famous faultfinders and explain how to recognize signs of this disease. Prominent persons who may have suffered from BPD include Adolph Hitler, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Mao Tse Tung, and Donald Trump. Included is a chapter in the book showing that Donald Trump appears to display eight of the nine criteria to make the diagnosis when only five are needed. Osterloh is licensed physician, attorney and pharmacist, and he is a current member of OLLI-UO.

Tuesday, July 17, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Amateur astronomy is a fun hobby that offers a chance to see many beautiful objects in the night sky, but many people are unsure how to start of what to look for. Jerry Oltion will discuss general astronomy and provide advice for beginners, as well as describe how telescopes work and what can be seen with them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Victor Jara (1932–1973) was a Chilean teacher, theater director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist who was tortured and killed during the dictatorship of August Pinochet. In this talk, speakers Dr. Daniel Party and Dr. Juan Eduardo Wolf analyze Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara’s 1973 album, Canto por Travesura (Songs of Mischief), which came to be the last recording released before his assassination. Because this album marks such a departure from the rest of Jara’s work, the speakers believe that examining this artistic turn can help us better understand Chile’s cultural politics.

Party is Associate Professor at the Institute of Music at the Catholic University of Chile. Wolf is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Oregon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Last May, OLLI-UO members toured the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant, where water drawn from the McKenzie River is treated prior to delivery to homes and businesses. This month, we have an opportunity to learn about the other end of the process: wastewater management.

OLLI-UO member Dr. Jim Novitsky will provide a lecture on the Biology of Wastewater Treatment. Novitsky has a PhD in microbiology and is a former university professor. His talk will cover the physical, biological, and chemical aspects of wastewater treatment.

Continue exploring this topic with a tour of the local Water Pollution Control Facility on Friday, July 27. Read more about the tour in the Tours, Field Trips, and Special Events section.

Wednesday, July 25, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

What do a meat cleaver, a jar of acid, an ax, a butcher knife, and a sawn-off shotgun have in common? They have all been used to damage or destroy some of the world’s most famous and beloved works of arts. From Leonardo to Van Gogh, from Rembrandt to Picasso, paintings and sculptures have been slashed, smashed, and shot by deranged and disgruntled visitors at even the best protected museums. This talk by OLLI member Helene-Carol Brown was rescheduled from March. Please join her for an examination of the damage to and restoration of ten masterpieces in peril.

Monday, August 6, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Mary Dickson's play, Exposed, puts a much-needed human face on what happened to unsuspecting Americans as a result of fallout from 928 nuclear bombs exploded in the desert near Las Vegas from 1951 to 1992. Mary is in the unique position of being a widely-published writer, a downwinder with a compelling personal story to share, a journalist and an activist to increase public awareness of what nuclear testing did to Americans living downwind.

Sarah Fox is a historian, folklorist, and environmental studies professor. Her book Downwind: A People’s History of the Nuclear West examines the stories of radiation-impacted communities around the American West, in an attempt to reckon with the domestic health and environmental costs of the nation’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mary and Sarah will share how they came to write their works, and why the play and book are even more relevant today as recent events have again brought nuclear weapons to the forefront.

Tuesday, August 7, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Find out what has happened to concubines in China as the political system changed in this fascinating lecture by Byrna Goodman, Professor of History at UO and a specialist in 20th century China. She is completing a "microhistory" about the 1922 suicide of a female secretary in the office of her employer at the Shanghai newspaper office where she worked. Goodman has recently begun a related project about concubinage in China after the Chinese Revolution of 1911. The laws of the new Chinese republic, established in 1912, mandated monogamy. Nonetheless, concubines remained in many elite households, and men with the resources to purchase concubines continued to see polygynous households as a marker of masculinity and status. This talk examines the politics of social mobilization to abolish concubinage and considers relations among different categories of women.

Tuesday, July 3, 17, 31 and August 7 and 21, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

About This Course

Focus: To present outstanding introductory college-level DVD science courses, and to enjoy the opportunity to share and discuss related ideas and information among group members. No specialized knowledge is required to appreciate these excellent lectures.


  • July 3: Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life—User Centered Design—The Internal Combustion Machine.
  • July 17: Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life—Torque, Power, and Transmission—The Drivetrain.
  • July 31: Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life—Suspension, Steering, and Braking—Highway Engineering.
  • August 7: Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life—Traffic Engineering—Everyday Bridges.
  • August 21: Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life—Tunnel Engineering—The Railroad

Meets: The first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month at 10:00–11:30 a.m.

Facilitators: Barbara Nagai and Mike Rose

The lectures are only mildly cumulative in nature, and if you are occasionally unable to attend, this fact should not impede your enjoyment of the course. Decisions concerning specific course subjects are made by a majority vote of the group. 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.

Wednesday, July 18, and August 1 and 15, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

About This Group

Focus: International affairs, history, current global developments and U.S. foreign policy.


  • July 18: Title TBA, Presenter: TBA
  • August 1: Title TBA, Presenter: TBA
  • August 15: Title TBA, Presenter: TBA

Meets: The first and third Wednesdays of each month from 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Facilitator: Bill Taliaferro and Randall Donohue

Members learn through presentations and discussions on topics connected with geo-politics, international business, global cultures, trade, the environment, and America’s place in the world. The facilitator maintains an email list for distribution of presenters’ materials, links to websites, videos and readings prior to the sessions.

Thursdays, 3:15–4:45 p.m.

About This Course

Focus: Developing communicative competence in Italian. Some knowledge of Italian is assumed. This is a study group led by a facilitator.

Meets: Every Thursday at 3:15–4:45 p.m.

Faciliator: Lee Altschuler

This study group will consider the diverse geography, history, traditions, music, famous personalities and local products of Italy's 20 regions. English-language videos and the Geografia d'Italia per Stranieri textbook will be use to learn about each region. For participants lacking knowledge of Italian we'll translate textbook passages to make the book accessible to them. For those interested in the Italian language, the course is an opportunity to share or improve their Italian language knowledge.

Monday, July 9, 23 and August 13, 27, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

About This Course

Focus: 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 9: The radical skepticism of Hume; Kant's Copernican revolution
  • July 23: Kant and the religion of reason; The French revolution and German idealism
  • August 13: Hegel—The last great system; Hegel and the English century
  • August 27: The economic revolution and its critics—Marx; Kierkegaard's critique of reason

Meets: The second and fourth Monday of each month at 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Contact: Henry Sholar

Facilitators: Byron Chell, Dennis Lawrence, and Lorraine Ironplow

Study and Discussion Groups
Monday, July 2, 16 and August 6, 20, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

About This Group

Focus: Sharing the process of writing and publication of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and memoirs. Writers of all levels of experience and all genres are welcome.

Meets: The first and third Mondays of each month from 9:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Livvie Taylor-Young

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

We meet to encourage our creativity-in-common and to 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) as well as offering and accepting constructive, objective critiquing, ideas and suggestions.

Since the written word often has a different feel than the spoken word . . . and since some of us just plain have trouble hearing . . . it would be extremely helpful if you'd bring several hard copies of what you plan to read.

Mondays, noon–1:30 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: The hour starts with a 20-minute book discussion followed by 30 minutes of silent or guided meditation. The session ends allow for a few minutes of discussion afterwards. Additional articles, podcasts, authors, and internet sites are often shared or recommended for those who care to extend their understanding and deepen their practice.

Meets: Every Monday at noon–1:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Janice Friend

Mondays, 12:15–1:45 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: Beginning level Spanish course; no basic knowledge required

Meets: Every Monday at 12:15–1:30 p.m.

Facilitator/Teacher: Sara Michener

Beginning Spanish is open to all, whether you know nothing beyond "hola" for "hello" or if you're quite good at Spanish but the time slot suits you. We speak in Spanish as much as possible. I like to use kids’ books to practice reading. Come and check it out.

Mondays, 3:15–4:30 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: Learning and improving our French through grammar, conversations, readings and discussions.

Meets: Every Monday at 3:15–4:45 p.m.

Facilitator: Elaine deMartin Webster

In the first half hour we have a session of grammar targeting an intermediate level of French. In the second half hour we have a conversation class with intermediate levels and advanced levels together and in the third half hour we target an advanced level of French where we read an article or discuss ideas or topics of interest to French language and culture.

Wednesday, July 11, 18, and August 1, 15, 3:30–5:30 p.m.

Special meeting date due to Independence Day closure on July 4.

About This Group

Focus: The interpretive reading of plays, usually accompanied by some discussion of a play's merits, information about its author, or other related matters.

Meets: The first and third Wednesdays of each month at 3:30–5:30 p.m. *

Facilitator: Jack Bennett and Iona Waller

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.

Thursday, July 5, 19 and August 2, 16, 9:30–11:00 a.m.

About This Group

Focus: Writing and speaking your inspiration and craft.

Meets: The first and third Thursdays of each month at 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Facilitator: Charles Castle

Members share poems they have written, provide each other with supportive feedback, and delve into their own creative process in a like-minded group. All voices and levels of experience welcomed. Come as you are. Prompts are provided if wanted. Opportunities for reading in front of an audience discussed.

Thursday, July 5, 19 and August 2, 16, 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: An informal discussion group devoted to the exchange of views on contemporary social issues and problems confronting the nation, state and local community.


  • July 5: Ageism, Presenter: Florence Rigby
  • July 19: Iatrogenics, Presenter: Bruce Gates
  • August 2: Today’s Family, Presenter: TBA
  • August 16: Physician Assisted suicide/Death with dignity, Presenter: Bryon Chell

Meets: The first and third Thursdays of each month from 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. People are welcome to bring their lunches.

Contact: Jerry Brule

Thinking Allowed is a participatory round table discussion group where all can contribute their knowledge and opinions toward making broad, complex issues more understandable to everyone. The subject areas are selected by the participants, with a write up about the specific topic for each session emailed a few days in advance to permit personal thought and investigation. Visit the website with past and current subject handouts and schedules.

Thursday, July 5, 19 and August 2, 16, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: Reading a variety of short stories and discussing them as a group.


  • July 5: "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • July 19: "The Ghost in the Mill" by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • August 2: TBA
  • August 16: TBA

Meets: The first and third Thursdays of each month at 1:30–3:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Shiela Pardee

Short story anthologies are generally used as a source of each term’s readings; additional selections may be provided by the facilitator.

Thursdays, 3:15–4:45 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: Speaking Spanish informally. Basic knowledge.

Meets: Every Thursday at 3:15–4:45 p.m.

Facilitator: Stan Cook

Someone volunteers to facilitate the meeting, and everyone contributes readings or topics for conversation in Español. Some of us speak Español rather well and want to practice it weekly. Others are very rusty but get more fluent as they keep trying.

Monday, July 9, 23 and August 13, 27, 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: 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.


  • July 9: Pandemics (flu and others), Presenter: Jerry Brule
  • July 23: Firearms, Presenter: Skip Berlin
  • August 13: Rebuilding Cities/Transportation reform, Presenter: Bruce Gates
  • August 27: Coral Reefs, Presenter: Jerry Brule
  • Meets: The second and fourth Mondays of each month from 11:45 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (People are welcome to bring their lunches.)

Contact: Jerry Brule

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. Visit the website with past and current subject handouts and schedules.

Wednesday, July 11 and August 8, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

About This Group

Focus: The reading and discussion of historical novels and nonfiction.

Book for July: “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Book for August: “The Secret Chord” by Geraldine Brooks

Meets: The second Wednesdays of each month at 10:00–11:30 a.m.

Facilitator: Joyce Churchill

If you would like to brush up on history and enjoy a good story along the way, join us twice a month for some very lively discussions of the books by a group of thoughtful and insightful men and women. Expect diverse opinions—we'll welcome your insights too!

Titles are selected by group vote every six months and each book (or author) is discussed over two meetings.

Thursday, July 12, 26, and August 9, 23, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

About This Group

Focus: Learning through a lively exchange of views on recent local, national, and world news.

Meets: The second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Moderator: Rotated among a team of volunteers.

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.

Tuesday, July 24 and August 21, 1:30–4:00 p.m.

About This Group

Focus: The reading and discussion of classic novels and works of philosophy, political theory, religion or sociology.

Book for July: "Tarnished Expansion, the Alaska Scandal, the Press, and Congress" by Paul Holbo

Book for August: "The House of Ulloa" by Emilia Bazan

Meets: The fourth Thursday of each month at 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Contact: Sheila Patterson

This group meets once a month for approximately two hours to discuss the book selection of the month. We also briefly review the author’s biography and how he or she came to author the book. We alternate between classic fiction (fifty years old or older) and classic non-fiction (also at least fifty years old). Many of the non-fiction selections have philosophical themes. We choose books for the coming year in May and June.

Tours, Field Trips, and Special Events
Friday, July 27, starting at 2:00 p.m.

We will visit the Water Pollution Control Facility on River Avenue, which services Eugene, Springfield, and the surrounding areas. The tour will be conducted by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and is approximately 90 minutes in length. The MWMC protects our local health, safety, and environment by providing high quality management of wastewater treatment prior to discharge into the Willamette River. Preregistration for the tour is required:

Friday, August 10, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

Lively Park in Springfield will be the site of our annual potluck picnic. The park includes a covered shelter and a great playground nearby if you have visiting grandchildren. More details and registration will be coming soon. Mark your calendars now!

Monday, Septemeber 10, 7:30 p.m.

Join your fellow OLLI-UO members for a private tour of UO’s Pine Mountain Observatory near Bend! The tour will last around two hours and include the history of the observatory, the story behind the telescopes, and guided viewing through telescopes, but you may stay and continue to view stars through the telescopes as late as you wish. The group will be meet at the observatory at sundown/7:30 p.m. Come a little early if you want to see sunset from the top of the mountain!

Tuesday and Wednesday, September 18–19

The trip package consists of roundtrip coach bus transportation, Tuesday night lodging with complimentary continental breakfast, Wednesday night dinner at the Wolf Creek Inn, and group-rate OSF tickets for the following three plays:

Tuesday, September 18, 1:30 p.m. matinee of Shakespeare's Othello and an 8:00 p.m. performance of Oklahoma!

Wednesday, September 19, 1:30 p.m. matinee of Sense and Sensibility


  • $334/person double occupancy room
  • $445/person single occupancy room

Please note your payment secures your reservation.

Sunday, July 29, 10:00 a.m.

Walkers and spinners are invited to participate in this year’s Eugene Celebration (EugFun) Parade, “Spinnin’ Our Wheels.” Help carry the OLLI-UO banner in the parade to raise community awareness of our wonderful OLLI-UO program. Look for more information in subsequent e-minders. Have a great idea for spinnin' down Broadway? Add it to the parade poster in the Patagonia room. Let's show our pride for OLLI-UO!

Shared Interest Groups

We are currently soliciting ideas for Shared Interests Groups (SIGs) at OLLI-UO.

These groups are another way for OLLI members to continue lifelong learning beyond the classroom and provide new opportunities to form friendships with other members around shared interests. They are independent and self-directed, with members deciding where and when to meet and how the group will function. Groups might include Photography, Lunch Bunch, Moviegoers, Travel, Foreign Affairs Group, Happy Hikers, and Pickleball.

As of May 1, two SIGs have been proposed for OLLI-UO: Contract Bridge and Ornamental Plants and Garden Design. Have an idea? We can assist you find other interested OLLI members! Complete a SIG Proposal Form (available at the Continuing and Professional Education office or from Jeff Houck, sig.olli.uo@gmail.com) and return to the office or Jeff.

Looking Ahead
September 10–December 17, 2018

"Politics in America: Hollywood Looks at American Politics and Our Political Process"

Join us in watching a selection of films that illuminate and often critique our politics, our political system, and ourselves in a new OLLI-UO Film Series beginning Monday, September 10, at 2:00 p.m. and thereafter on the first and third Mondays of the month through December 17.

Here is the list of films in this newest, compelling film series:

  • September 10, Primary Colors
  • September 17, Advise and Consent
  • October 1, All the President's Men
  • October 15, A Face in the Crowd
  • November 5, The Candidate
  • November 19, Tennessee Johnson
  • December 3, The Last Hurrah
  • December 17, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Please look for more information on this website, and in the September issue of The Oregon Sage.

An archive of previous courses and activities is available.