University of Oregon

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Continuing and Professional Education

Eugene/Springfield Announcements

Eugene/Springfield program announcements will be published on this page each month. Please read to the bottom of the page for all announcements.

Council Presidents' Holiday Message

Ed. Note: This message was sent via email to all OLLI-UO members in Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield on December 23, 2020.

As 2020 comes to not-too-soon end, it is understandable that many are relieved to move on to a new year. The past year has been punctuated by the challenge and the sadness of the pandemic. However, for OLLI-UO, it has been a transformative year—manifestly exemplified by the success of the Winter Holiday Celebration on December 21 that brought together more than four score of OLLI members on both sides of the Cascades.

For the first time, a social event was held that was truly OLLI-UO, not focused solely on Central Oregon or Eugene-Springfield. It is appropriate to recognize the members and staff who created this unique event, most notably Elizabeth Polidan, Julie Jessal, Howard Schuman, Suzanne Butterfield, Heather Inghram, Todd Gauthier, Terry Schwab, David Kolb, and Carolyn Kortge.

We know that OLLI-UO will some day return to live programming, live interaction among members, and the social contact that makes our OLLI experience so important and rewarding. We are all anxious for this to happen even as we cannot predict how or when this process will occur. However, we also should recognize that the OLLI-UO of the future will not be the same as the OLLI of the past. There will be a greater sharing of programs, of speakers and resources. There will be the expansion of relationships characterized by the increasing integration of a true OLLI-UO community. There will be the possibility of new members who participate from all parts of northwestern Oregon and even beyond.

And, finally, there will be the recognition that from the isolation and remoteness that was a dark shadow over much of the past year, a new OLLI-UO will emerge, stronger and more interconnected than ever. The future is bright.

Best wishes for a healthy and safe Holiday Season for all.

Kathryn Cullen
Central Oregon Governing Council

Stephen Koller
Eugene/Springfield Governing Council

An Update From OLLI-UO Governing Councils

This was sent via email to all OLLI-UO members in Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield on July 9, 2020.

To All OLLI-UO Members:

A Look Into the Future

"These are the times that try men's souls" wrote Thomas Paine. He wasn’t referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, but his words certainly apply to the present. We are all affected by this situation, and, for many of us, OLLI-UO has become more important and more central to our lives. Much of OLLI activity has resumed, albeit remotely, and it would be timely to look ahead into the short-term future.

Under the guidance of both Governing Councils (Eugene/Springfield and Central Oregon), volunteer-leader teams met to plan and anticipate future OLLI operations. This message summarizes the results of the work done by the teams.

  • In-person activities including lectures, presentations, and study and discussion groups may not be possible in the fall. And if in-person activities can resume, there are likely to be significant restrictions in terms of member attendance, physical distancing at meeting venues (including the Baker Downtown Center), and the frequency of programs and other activities.
  • Remote programming via Zoom or other platforms will continue under any circumstance. Increasing numbers of OLLI members are now participating remotely and non-participating members will be encouraged to join activities. Current training/orientation for members to use remote technology will be expanded.
  • Joint remote programming with participants from both OLLI sites will be expanded. This will be supported through coordinated program planning and scheduling between the two sites. An unexpected benefit of the pandemic has been the shared participation of OLLI members, which has resulted in the greater sense of the complete OLLI-UO community.
  • OLLI-UO has received approval from the Osher Foundation to use grant money to acquire additional equipment to upgrade remote programming capability. This will enable OLLI to support the remote programming of live presentations when in-person activities are possible.
  • We will expand the number of OLLI volunteers in the facilitation of remote programs and meetings as these activities will increase in the future. Orientation will be provided to support volunteers.

We recognize that many of our members place a high value of OLLI participation on the social benefits of meeting in-person with other OLLI members. Under the most optimistic assumptions, we must accept that social engagement will be circumscribed for some time into the future. However, members should be confident that OLLI activity will be robust and varied as we enter into the fall term.

We should also be confident and thankful for the continued strong support of OLLI-UO from the University and especially from the Department of Continuing and Professional Education. More information will be forthcoming through an all-member Zoom meeting to be held in the near future. This meeting will allow members to ask questions regarding anticipated OLLI-UO activities and operations as well as to provide input and suggestions. We all can expect a strong and vibrant OLLI in the future.


Eugene/Springfield Governing Council

Central Oregon Governing Council

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
—Eric Hoffer

July 9, 2020

Summer Program Update

This was sent via email to all OLLI-UO members in Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield on July 1, 2020.

At the end of the UO's academic year and as we begin the summer season, we OLLI-UO program staff are writing to provide a comprehensive update and answer a few logistical questions that we know are on your mind. We’ve come a long way since mid-March!

Program Update

Though our day-to-day lives underwent a sea change this spring, OLLI-UO has continued to function at a high level, providing intellectual and social engagement for members via remote delivery platforms. For instance, some study and discussion groups and all lectures are meeting via Zoom, some groups are using Basecamp and Zoom, and other groups have decided to maintain their connection via email. While there is no right or wrong way to do it, we applaud member-leaders, facilitators, and participants for choosing to engage. Now, more than ever, we are hearing from our members that they need the program to continue and flourish in order to provide vital connections to support their intellectual, social, and mental health.

While we understand this is different from the OLLI-UO experience you signed up for, it is the OLLI-UO that we have in the moment. And, out of crisis comes opportunity. Members and staff are learning new tech skills, designing innovative program formats, adjusting operating procedures, and learning and maintaining new social connections together… and the program is thriving because of it! We are able to bring in speakers and guests who otherwise would not have participated in OLLI-UO. When we return to the classroom, we will be able to use what we have learned to enhance the experience for everyone and expand the reach of OLLI-UO to potential new members.

The most heartening program development during this time has been the increase in cross-site cooperation between our Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield Governing Councils, committees, and member-leaders. Due in large part to their efforts and foresight, our program is more closely united than ever before. This unification positions OLLI-UO for exciting expansion opportunities, which we continue to explore. In the coming weeks, the Program Schedule pages on both sites’ Info Hubs will be updated with a merged set of listings. That is, almost all program offerings at both sites will be open to all members, no matter the format or location. This transition presents a unified slate of expanded programming for current members and for future outreach efforts to new/potential members. And, yes, we have continued to have new members join OLLI-UO—at both sites—since March!

End of Membership Extension

You may recall that in early April, both Governing Councils approved an across-the-board three-month extension of all members’ enrollment periods. As it is now the beginning of July, the first group of members who had original participation expiration dates in mid/late March (when in-person classes went on hiatus) are now at the end of their membership periods. Over the last two weeks, Councils at both program sites voted, with staff agreement, not to extend membership periods any further. If your membership period has ended, we hope you will re-enroll. Renewal notices will be sent as per usual, beginning tomorrow (July 2).

OLLI-UO Governing Councils' and staff members' rationale for extending memberships for the three-month period was due to the lack of program engagement we were able to provide at that time. The fact that we have successfully launched a variety of offerings via Zoom—and a chance to participate in classes and discussion groups at either site—led us to the decision that the three-month extension was sufficient.

We understand that using Zoom is not for everyone, but we have been encouraged by the enthusiastic response that many OLLI-UO members have shown in using it. Either way, we hope you will continue on with OLLI-UO and hang in there with us. We want to be here for you when you are ready to come back to a classroom. If you are already using Zoom—thank you! If you are interested in learning to use Zoom—we're ready to get you started! It’s easier than you may think.

Where We are Headed

OLLI-UO will continue to offer a slate of Zoom lectures, groups, and social meetings through the summer and into the fall. In the fall, we will continue to expand our program’s key offerings (lectures, courses, and study and discussion groups). Next week, your Governing Council Presidents Kathryn Cullen (Central Oregon) and Stephen Koller (Eugene/Springfield) will be in touch via email to provide a comprehensive update about OLLI-UO programming during the summer, fall, and beyond.

Thank you for your participation in OLLI-UO. We use this phrase in many of our communications with you—but now, more than ever, we want you to know how much it really does mean: to your fellow members, to member-leaders, to staff, and to the UO. We are all involved with OLLI-UO because we believe in the importance of lifelong learning and the strong community that has been built around this concept. We are all working hard to keep OLLI-UO rolling and moving forward—and we can’t do it without you!

Thank you so much for all you do. Stay well and be healthy!

Best regards,

Todd Gauthier, E/S Program Manager
Sandra Gladney, Program Director
Heather Inghram, CO Program Manager

July 1, 2020

An archive of previous announcements is available the archive page.


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon