University of Oregon

OLLI-UO Program Catalog

Check each listing for delivery format/participation options. All lectures, courses, groups, and events are open to all members at all program locations, 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. Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated. Follow the links in the titles below to view full descriptions and information.

OLLI-UO Saturday Seminars Fall Preview

Wednesday, September 13, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene


Join us for a special preview session of the Fall 2023 OLLI-UO Saturday Seminars lineup. The academic year launches with seminars on Memoir: Our Most Enduring and Endearing Literature, with Prof. Barbara Mossberg; Moby Dick: Herman Melville's Masterpiece, with Prof. Lou Caton; and Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop: Poets and Friends, with Prof. Jim Earl. Meet the instructors and receive a sneak preview of the full seminars.

OLLI-UO members are eligible for a discounted $95 rate for each four-week seminar. The general community member rate is $135. Visit the Saturday Seminars page for more details.


Dr. Barbara Mossberg is a Professor of Practice in Literature in the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.

Lou F. Caton, Professor Emeritus, has taught a variety of literature courses at the University of Oregon, Auburn University, and Westfield State University.

Dr. James Earl is Professor Emeritus of English in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon.

Navigating Intellectual Freedom

Friday Talk with Deschutes Public Library
Friday, September 15, 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Downtown Bend Library and Zoom; presenter at Downtown Bend Library


What is Intellectual Freedom?  What is censorship? How does it relate to libraries? How does it relate to you as a community member? Join Emily O’Neal, Technical Services Manager at Deschutes County Library, for a look at the foundations of intellectual freedom, its profound connection to libraries and the devastating impact of censorship on today’s library spaces. Take a deep dive into the escalating attempts to censor books and the alarming surge of challenges to all kinds of library materials. What can you do to help combat these unsettling incidents?

About ThE PresenteR

The Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee (OLA IFC) educates and supports the value of intellectual freedom, and helps provide public oversight of any potential violations of the First Amendment in Oregon libraries. Emily O’Neal has been chair of the OLA IFC since October 2020. She is a champion supporter of intellectual freedom, supporting libraries against book challenges across the state, including drafting written statements, attending board meetings, and speaking out in support of intellectual freedom. She offers training to school and library districts, at library conferences, and within a variety of community organizations. When not championing for intellectual freedom rights, Emily enjoys teaching dance or spending time outdoors– hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing and paddle boarding with her husband and two dogs.

Historicizing Social Egg Freezing: Eugenics, Feminism, and the Commodification of Motherhood

Tuesday, September 19, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter at Baker Downtown Center


In this talk, Professor Priscilla Yamin will discuss the social pressures on women and the current businesses who freeze and store eggs for women who want to postpone childbearing until after they have become established in their careers. She also explains the commercial value of eggs and the process for young college women to sell their eggs to help pay for their college education. Prices paid vary from about $5,000 to $50,000 depending on IQ, grade point average, race, and appearance as customers define the child they want. Meanwhile there is little government regulation of these businesses or protection for the women who participate.

About ThE Presenter

Priscilla Yamin is an associate professor in the UO Department of Political Science, with research interests in American politics; politics of inequality; social policy; marriage and family politics; American political development and institutions; race, gender, and sexuality studies; and feminist theory, political culture, and political identity.

Social Media: Protecting Your Information Online

Tuesday, October 3, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter at Baker Downtown Center


What is social media? How can seniors keep their information safe? What settings and adjustments need your attention? This presentation will cover different types of social media, browsers, and platforms you might be using, and both benefits and pitfalls of these modern tools, which have become an important part of our lives.

About ThE Presenter

Presenter Deb Sorensen is an active member of the OLLI-UO in Eugene/Springfield Program Committee and is a software trainer and consultant. She is active in numerous boards and committees as well as local music organizations, singing in the Eugene Symphony Chorus, Eugene Vocal Arts, and the Eugene Concert Choir. She is a member of the Fortnightly Club of Eugene. In addition, she is a recreational cyclist and race-walking veteran of many local and regional marathons and relays.

Preparing for and Making the Most of Your Precious End-of-Life Journey

Tuesday, October 10, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter at Baker Downtown Center


An important development in the emergence of end-of-life care is being provided by end-of-life (death) doulas. End-of-life doulas provide non-medical holistic physical, emotional, and spiritual support to individuals and their families as they go through their end-of-life journey.

This talk introduces the death doula approach to-end-of life care and planning. Much of the presentation is dedicated to taking questions and to stimulating discussion and contemplation regarding our journey toward death. Critical in this discussion is: "What constitutes a good death and how do we live to achieve that?"

About ThE Presenter

Presenter Karuna Sams is a lifelong teacher and lecturer and has spoken internationally for over 20 years on emerging healthcare technologies. He has a PhD in cell and molecular biology from the University of Kansas and has started eight companies in health care technologies over the past 40 years. He has recently started a new career providing end-of-life doula guidance for individuals and families. Dr. Sams has been a hospice volunteer, is trained as a Death Cafe Facilitator, and has recently completed his Death Doula training. He has launched his company Karuna Doulas in Eugene to provide end-of-life guidance and journeying to older adults and their families.

Braver Angels: Bringing Americans Together Again Across the Political Divide

Tuesday, October 17, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (lecture)
Tuesday, October 25, 2:00-5:00 p.m. (workshop)
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter at Baker Downtown Center (lecture) UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene; presenter at Baker Downtown Center (workshop)


In 1963, 77 percent of Americans “trusted the government to do what is right.” By 2022, only 20 percent retained that trust in government. This is the challenge that drives the mission of Braver Angels: to bring American together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic.

This is a two-part offering:

Part 1 on Tuesday, October 17 is a 1.5-hour presentation and discussion, an Introduction to Braver Angels. After the presentation, a short break-out session will begin, where participants in the room talk to one or two neighbors and those on Zoom are divided into break-out rooms.

Part 2 on Tuesday, October 25 is a Braver Angels workshop, Skills for Bridging the Divide. The workshop will last 2.5 to 3 hours. This is an interactive skills-building workshop with a mix of slide presentation, work in breakout rooms, and debriefing in a large group.

About ThE Presenter

Presenter Mary N. Miller is a Braver Angels team leader. Braver Angels is a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to political depolarization.

Geology of Central Oregon: New Insights on the Tectonic Forces Shaping Oregon’s Landscapes

Friday Talk with the Deschutes Public Library
Friday, October 20, 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Downtown Bend Library


Join us on a journey of discovery into the stunning volcanic landscapes of central Oregon with Dr. Daniele McKay, geologist and instructor in the Department of Earth Science at the University of Oregon. Recent geologic research has revolutionized our perception of this geologically diverse region, where tectonic forces from around the globe converge to create a diverse panorama of snow-draped volcanic peaks, landscapes created by faults, and colossal volcanic eruptions. Get ready for new geologic insights that will reshape your understanding of the global tectonic forces that create our central Oregon landscapes.

About the Presenter

Dr. Daniele McKay is Senior instructor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon. She lives in Bend, Oregon and teaches online geology courses throughout the academic year, and field courses in central Oregon during the summer. Her research background is in physical volcanology with a focus on recent mafic eruptions in the central Oregon Cascades. She is also interested in how societies prepare for and respond to natural disasters, especially volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. She has worked with Deschutes County, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience, and the Red Cross on natural hazard preparedness and mitigation in central Oregon.

Sinking and Tilting Millennium Tower San Francisco: What Went Wrong and Why It Continues to Be a Slow-Moving Disaster

Tuesday, October 31, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter at Baker Downtown Center


The sinking and tilting of Millennium Tower San Francisco (MT), a high-rise residential building, continues to be a massive problem for the city, surrounding properties, South of Market district, and condominium owners. When MT was built and completed from 2005 to 2009, it was generally lauded as an architectural and structural masterpiece of human ingenuity. A few, however, knew that the building was already sinking much more than geotechnical predictions, and that was not disclosed to the city until 2016. This was after nearly all the condominium units were sold and when the symptoms of settlement and tilting were becoming obvious. Fast forward through city investigations, expert review panels, individual lawsuits collected into one master lawsuit, and you have the current situation. The results of the master lawsuit were that the developers and insurers would repair the building foundation.

Started in 2017 and currently almost complete, the repair concept and execution has been extremely risky and controversial. This presentation is about how the MT got to this point, about the repair, and possible long-term outcomes. Some believe the repair will not work in the long-term and will be a slow-moving disaster for the City of San Francisco in the future.

About ThE Presenter

Gary Rayor is a Eugene-based Professional Engineer/Structural Engineer (PE/SE) who has made numerous presentations at OLLI-UO about bridges, dams, and other civil engineering projects. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1974 and is still practicing engineering part-time. He is currently licensed as a PE/SE in five US states.

1,036 Days: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy and the 60th Anniversary of the Assassination

Tuesday, November 14, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenters on Zoom


Incredible as it may seem, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For history and for our country, November 22, 1963 is a touchstone forever marked by before and after. For those to whom it remains living memory and for those to whom it’s all history, OLLI-UO in Eugne/Springfield members Olivia (Livvie) Taylor-Young and Kirk Taylor will commemorate that touchstone in this scripted PowerPoint presentation.

But it would be an injustice to remember that national tragedy alone. Livvie and Kirk will also celebrate the 1,036 days of The New Frontier (later known as Camelot), the life and presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy… and a time when public service was deeply-valued and America seemed filled with hope, possibility, and grace. Right now, with all the current challenges to democracy, Livvie and Kirk believe this commemorative is more important than ever: to celebrate what was good and demonstrate our nation’s resilience and ability to overcome even the most awesome and awful of challenges.

About ThE PresenterS

Olivia Taylor-Young and Kirk Taylor joined OLLI-UO within a few weeks of moving to Eugene/Springfield in the spring of 2009. Later that year, Livvie began facilitating the Creative Writing Critique group and has remained at its helm ever since. An author, columnist and retired PR professional, she is also an historian by avocation… claiming that growing up in New England surrounded her with American history wherever she looked and it became a lifelong romance.

Kirk is a native Oregonian who moved to Northern California when he was seven. Initially studying astrophysics, he ended up with a career in electronics… managing a Silicon Valley Corporate Training Department and teaching computer programming all over the world.

In their retirement, the Taylors decided it would be fun to try combining his technological expertise with her passion for writing and history… having no idea what the end result would be or where the project would take them. The upshot became a series of scripted, live, educational, and entertaining PowerPoint walks down memory lane. As of this writing, they have completed, revised, and updated fifteen one-to-two-hour programs on a wide variety of subjects and have presented them throughout Lane County and, thanks to Zoom, nationwide.

A Long Walk to a Little Library in Nepal

Friday, November 17, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Downtown Bend Library

Photograph of Larry Weinberg.


Come along with Bend resident Larry Weinberg on a transformative expedition among the soaring peaks of the Himalayas along the illustrious Makalu Base Camp Trail. Experience some of the most magical mountain panoramas in Nepal as Larry makes his way to the village of Khokatak and eventually to the town of Langmale Kharka at a breathtaking altitude of 14,600 feet. Along the way there are spectacular views of mountains like Everest- the highest in the world, Makalu, Lhotse, Kutumsang, and Baruntse.

In 2022 Larry embraced the cause of Ten Friends in Sisters, Oregon, a nonprofit organization on a mission to enhance the lives of the Nepalese people by building small village libraries in the remote areas of the Himalayas. Larry envisioned a little library in Khokatak at the Balsudha Basic School to honor the memory of his parents and brother. His remarkable trek to the Himalayas takes Larry to that little library he helped to create that would become a symbol of his unique commitment to the people of Nepal.


Larry Weinberg moved to Bend in 2005 following his retirement from Boeing in Seattle. He has taught mathematics at Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University–Cascades campus. Larry is on the Board of Directors of Ten Friends (a Sisters-based nonprofit) and the Deschutes Land Trust’s Fundraising Committee. Larry has shared tales of his past travels in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe in several entertaining presentations to OLLI and REI in Bend.

The Future of Energy Efficiency in the Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, November 29, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter on Zoom


Oregon and the Pacific Northwest region consider energy efficiency to be a resource, and efforts in Oregon have led to significant energy savings in the last several decades. What does the future of energy efficiency look like? What are the co-benefits of energy efficiency?

In this lecture, Andy Cameron of the Oregon Department of Energy will discuss this and more—and specifically how the PNW has become a leader in this area.

About ThE Presenter

Andy Cameron is the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Manager at the Oregon Department of Energy. He has an MBA from the University of Oregon and a BA in Science from Western Oregon University.

The Art and Craft of Film Acting

Thursday, December 14, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenter on Zoom


Following up on his well-received lecture on film editing last autumn, Professor Dustin Morrow returns to OLLI-UO to present a lecture on “The Art and Craft of Film Acting”. This new presentation centers around a book Morrow co-authored with Kathleen Turner: Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations About Film, Television, and Theater. With the assistance of clips from numerous films, Morrow will demystify the craft of film acting by discussing the challenges faced by film actors and how they make choices in their performances.

About ThE PreseNter

Morrow is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, bestselling author, film programmer and educator. He is currently a tenured Professor in the School of Film at Portland State University, where he teaches courses in digital cinema production, screenwriting, and film studies. He previously taught at Temple University in Philadelphia, Monmouth College in Illinois, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Prof. Morrow’s films have won numerous awards and been shown in in more than 40 countries around the world. Before re-entering academia, Morrow was an editor and director of short-form projects and series television in Los Angeles, for such clients as MTV and the Discovery Channel, and such filmmakers as Spike Jonze, Michael Apted, Guy Ritchie, Steven Soderbergh, and (as directors) Kathy Bates and Denzel Washington. His latest books are Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations About Film, Television and Theater (Simon & Schuster), a collaboration with the legendary actress; and the textbook Producing for TV and New Media (Focal Press). His latest film is the feature-length thriller Black Pool, which is set against the political conflict in Northern Ireland. It was shot in Dublin, Belfast, and the U.S. and was sold for distribution at the Cannes Film Festival. Learn more about Morrow and his work at


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. Follow the links in the titles below to view full descriptions and information.

OLLI-UO Film Series: Great Directors

First and Third Mondays, April 3–December 4, 1:30-4:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; presenters at Baker Downtown Center


The OLLI-UO Film Series Committee invites you to the movies on first and third Mondays through November 6 to experience and celebrate the work of directors from the American Film Institute’s list of Top 100 Films. Committee members will present the following films on the big screen of the Baker Downtown Center. If you can’t make it to downtown Eugene, join us via Zoom!

April 3: The 39 Steps (1935), directed by Alfred Hitchcock; hosted by Craig Starr

April 17: Swing Time (1936), directed by George Stevens; hosted by Bill Taliaferro

May 1: Double Indemnity (1944), directed by Billy Wilder; hosted by Howard Schuman

May 15: How Green Was My Valley (1941), directed by John Ford; hosted by Susan Walcott

June 5: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), directed by Stanley Kubrick; hosted by Andy Walcott

June 19: no session; OLLI-UO closed in observance of Juneteenth holiday

July 3: no session; OLLI-UO closed for Summer Break

July 17: Modern Times (1936), directed by Charlie Chaplin; hosted by Susan Walcott

August 7: Strangers on a Train (1951), directed by Alfred Hitchcock; hosted by Craig Starr

August 21: His Girl Friday (1940), directed by Howard Hawks; hosted by Andy Walcott

September 4: no session; OLLI-UO closed in observance of Labor Day holiday

September 18: The Maltese Falcon (1941), directed by John Huston; hosted by Bill Taliaferro

October 2: The Apartment (1960), directed by Billy Wilder; hosted by Howard Schuman

October 16: Two for the Road (1967), directed by Stanley Donen; hosted by Andy Walcott

November 6: Shane (1953), directed by George Stevens; hosted by Bill Taliaferro

November 20: no session

December 4: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), directed by Howard Hawks; hosted by Howard Schuman

As always, members of OLLI-UO’s Film Series Committee will introduce the day’s film and share with you interesting facts, gossip, and insights about the movie. After the movie, your host will lead a discussion of the movie, where you can share your thoughts, reactions, and insights.

Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology

First, Third, and Fifth Tuesdays, July 18–October 3, 10:00 a.m.–noon
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene, Bend Elks Lodge, and Zoom; facilitators at Elks Lodge

NOTE: This course is presented as part of the Understanding Science study and discussion group.


Epigenetics is the study of how our behaviors and environment can influence changes in the way our genes function. Join physician-scientist Dr. Charlotte Mykura for 12 Wondrium lectures as she explores the latest advancements in this exciting field. While genes play a significant role in our health–our behaviors and environment, including diet and physical activity, also contribute. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic alterations are reversible and do not modify our DNA sequence, but they can impact how our bodies interpret our genetic information. How does this profound interplay between our everyday choices and genetic expression actually function?


Dr. Mykura is a foundation doctor with the North Bristol NHS Trust, England. She earned her M.D. at Swansea University and her Ph.D. in Epigenetics at Imperial College London, where she focused on protein complexes that fold, organize, and repair DNA.


July 18:  Living DNA and the Epigenetic Universe; How Your Epigenetic Code Changes. Facilitator: Russ Hopper

August 1: What You Eat and the Epigenetics of Your Gut; Can We Slow the Epigenetics of Aging? Facilitator: Barbara Nagai

August 15: Brain Epigenetics, Stress, and Memory; The Heart and Lungs, Epigenetics, and Exercise. Facilitator: Elizabeth Polidan

August 29: Cancer Epigenetics versus Your DNA Repair; Disease-Fighting Epigenetics and Immunity. Facilitator: Barbara Nagai

September 5: No class

September 19: Female and Male? The Epigenetics of X and Y; Human Life Begins with Epigenetics. Facilitator: Elizabeth Polidan

October 3: Inheriting Epigenetics in Plants–and People? The Evolution of Epigenetics and our Future. Facilitator: Russ Hopper

Course Manager

Russ Hopper

Understanding Japan: A Cultural History

Thursdays, September 14–December 7, 10 a.m.–noon
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene, Bend Elks Lodge, and Zoom; facilitators at Baker Downtown Center and Elks Lodge


Uncover the extraordinary story of Japan’s transformation from its modest beginnings as an island of warring kingdoms to the free and prosperous nation of today. Join renowned Japan scholar Dr. Mark J. Ravina for twenty-four, highly rated half-hour episodes from the Great Courses. Discover how Japan’s culture grew and evolved from isolated to international. Explore Japan’s broad array of arts including types of theater and poetry, forms of arranging nature, woodblock printing, and film making. Examine family life, religion, and Japan’s food culture. Professor Ravina shares Japan’s tumultuous history from its warring prehistoric kingdoms through the building of a modern nation and powerful Empire. A transformation to peace, democracy, and capitalist prosperity characterizes the past eight decades, achieved by a uniquely Japanese path.

After each episode the facilitator will lead a discussion, where you can share your thoughts, reactions, and insights.

About ThE Presenter

Dr. Mark J Ravina earned his bachelor’s degree In East Asian Studies from Columbia University, and Master’s and Ph.D.  in History from Stanford. He has written numerous books and journal articles about Japan, including To Stand with the Nations of the World: Japan’s Meiji Restoration as World History, Oxford University Press, 2017, winner of the 2018 Book Prize of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies.


September 14: Japan: A Globally Engaged Island Nation; Hokusai and the Art of Wood-Block Prints. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

September 21: Understanding Japan Through Ancient Myths; The Rise of the Ritsuryo State. Facilitator: Gary Whiteaker

September 28: No Class

October 5: Heian Court Culture; The Rise of the Samurai. Facilitator: Stephen Koller

October 12: Buddhism in Japan; Japanese Foodway; Kurosawa and Ozu: Two Giants of Film. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

October 19: Japan Day special event; no scheduled lecture. Join the group in Eugene for a tour of the Asian collection at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, followed by a noodle lunch at the Baker Downtown Center while watching Tampopo, a 1985 Japanese comedy.

October 26: Japan’s Isolation in the Tokugawa Period; Japanese Theater: Noh and Kabuki. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

November 2: Aspects of the Japanese Language; The Importance of Japanese Gardens. Facilitator: David Kolb

November 9:  The Meaning of Bushido in a Time of Peace; Japanese Poetry: The Road to Haiku. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

November 16: The Meiji Restoration; Three Visions of Prewar Japan. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

November 23: Thanksgiving Holiday, no class

November 30: The War Without a Master Plan: Japan, 1931-45; Japanese Family Life. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

December 7: Japan’s Economic Miracle; The Making of Contemporary Japan. Facilitator: Susan Walcott

Course Manager

Susan Walcott

Reading Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion

Wednesdays, September 20–October 18, 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m. (5 meetings)
Note: special meeting time for September 27 session only: 3:00–5:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene; instructor at Baker Downtown Center

Registration is closed.

Registration is required and limited to 20 persons


“Sometimes a Great Notion [is] a novel of mammoth size and proportion: eloquently gritty, uncompromisingly exhaustive, big, bold, unique and haunting,” according to Kirkus Reviews after the book’s release in 1964. Nearly 60 years later, the book is still hailed as the quintessential Oregon novel and possibly Ken Kesey’s magnum opus.

The book focuses on the Stamper family, whose philosophy of “Never give a inch” leads them to defy a lumber union strike and whose familial drama has been likened to Greek tragedy.

The course will entail lectures and discussion, similar to a Socratic circle. Registration is required and limited to 20 persons. Registrants must obtain/have access to a copy of the book to participate in the course.

About The Instructor

The course will be taught by retired teacher Eileen Babbs, who taught the novel for 10 years at South Eugene High School. Babbs is married to Ken Babbs, who was a friend of Ken Kesey’s and co-author of his last novel, Last Go Round.

Understanding Cognitive Biases

First, Third and Fifth Tuesdays, October 17–March 19, 10:00 a.m.–noon
Bend Elks Lodge, UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene, and ZOOM; facilitators at Elks Lodge and Zoom.

Note: This course is presented as part of the Understanding Science study and discussion group.


Imagine a tall, very attractive speaker with a commanding presence and excellent oratorical skills. You might assume that they are also intelligent, kind, and of good character even if you have no direct evidence to support your conclusions. Conversely, if you have a negative impression of someone, you might tend to judge their actions or qualities more negatively. That is an example of cognitive bias, the mental shortcuts we unknowingly take that have a profound impact on our daily lives. Consider “confirmation bias,” which steers us towards information that aligns with our existing beliefs, conveniently ignoring contrary evidence. It appears the whole nation might be guilty of that one these days. These little prejudices help us think quickly and to focus on useful information, but can also give us a very biased view of the world.

Join us on a mind-bending journey as we navigate the intriguing maze of human perception. Unlock the secrets of human cognition, understand your loved ones better and gain insights into your own thinking patterns. Dr. Alexander B. Swan, Associate Professor of Psychology,  leads us through 24 half hour Wondrium video lectures in an expedition into 200 cognitive biases identified by psychologists and sociologists over the past several decades.

After each episode the facilitator will lead a discussion, where you can share your thoughts, reactions, and insights.

About The Presenter  

Alexander B. Swan, PhD Professor, Eureka College, Eureka, IL.  earned a PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous journal articles in psychology, focusing in part on how biases contribute to pseudoscientific beliefs and behaviors.


October 17: Why We’re Blind to Our Own Bias; Things We Want to Be True: Confirmation Bias. Facilitator: Russ Hopper

October 31: We See People In and Behind Everything; We Love It Because We Built It. Facilitator: Russ Hopper

November 7: Why We Think Differently in Groups; Learn Better with Cognitive Biases. Facilitator: Barbara Nagai

November 14: Expectations Change Results: Observer Bias; Bias Boot camp for Better Decisions. Facilitator: TBD

December 5: We Think Others’ Behaviors Are Their Fault; How Memory Is Biased Toward Misinformation. Facilitator: Barbara Nagai

January 2: How Fast Thinking Leads to a Great Fall; I Knew It All Along: Hindsight Bias. Facilitator: TBD

January 16: Even Random Outcomes Lead to Bias; How Con Artists Exploit Our Biases. Facilitator: TBD

January 30: Stereotypes: See the Person, Not the Group; Biases from Knowing Too Much or Too Little. Facilitator: TBD

February 6: Is That Memory Mine or Someone Else’s?; I Believe, Therefore I Think: Belief Bias. Facilitator: TBD

February 20: Why Emotional Peaks and Endings Matter; We Lie to Be Socially Desirable. Facilitator: TBD

March 5: Why emotional Gaps Cause Trouble; Only Survivors Tell the Story. Facilitator: TBD

March 19: Reactance: You can’t Watch This Lecture! Status Quo the More Things Change. Facilitator: TBD

Course Manager

Russ Hopper

Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping

Wednesdays, October 25–November 15, 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m. (4 meetings)
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom: instructor at Baker Downtown Center

This class is full. Call the main office at 800-824-2714 to be added to the waitlist.

Registration is required and limited to 20 persons


At first glance, the title of Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer-finalist novel conjures images of Better Homes and Gardens, Emily Post, and, well, Good Housekeeping. But Robinson’s title asks a larger question: What does it mean to “keep” a house?

If we look at etymology for answers to the title’s connotations, the word “house” has maintained similar meanings through time: a dwelling for shelter. The word “keep” is more redolent, originating in Old English – cepan – “to seize, hold, seek after, desire,” and “to look out for.” The multiple ambiguities suggested by the title are mirrored in its story of orphaned sisters, an eccentric aunt who arrives unexpectedly and “keeps” their house by opening it to the starkly beautiful landscape, and their existence within an aura of both loss and desire.

This lyrical novel offers us multiple answers to the questions of keeping and seeking, questions that continue as we read the first sentence, “My name is Ruth.” Here, another evocation arises, that of the biblical Ruth, and with it questions of love, journeying, and loyalty. This is a novel in prose like poetry, one that The New York Times Book Review called “so precise, so distilled, so beautiful” that it warranted the reading experience described by Doris Lessing, “I found myself reading slowly, then more slowly – this is not a novel to be hurried through, for every sentence is a delight.”

This readers’ group will span four weeks to allow time to read closely and savor both plot and poetry. In addition to discussion and analysis, the course will explore the evocative metaphors that underpin the novel by freewriting, journalizing, and sharing ideas within small groups.

Registration is required and limited to 20 persons. Registrants must obtain/have access to a copy of the book to participate in the course.

This course will be taught by Delia Fisher, who has taught several courses for OLLI-UO, including Women, Myth and Culture. She is a former instructor at Rogue Community College, University of Oregon, Auburn University, and Westfield (MA) State University. She earned her PhD from UO.

About The Instructor

After earning her M.A. at Fullerton State University, Delia Fisher taught in the California secondary school system until 1972, when she moved to the Illinois Valley in Southern Oregon. There, she was a mom to her two daughters and raised goats and vegetables.

In 1981, she returned to teaching at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, then moved to Eugene in 1984 to teach in the University of Oregon departments of English and Multi-Cultural Affairs. She enrolled in the Ph.D. program at UO in 1989, studying American literature and women writers, completing her degree 1997. In the years following, she and her husband (also a literature professor) taught at Auburn University in Alabama until 2001, when they accepted teaching positions at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Delia taught a variety of classes there and then was selected to coordinate the English Education Program, teaching and mentoring students who sought teacher certification.

In 2010, she retired and came home to Eugene. Since 2018, Fisher has taught several courses for OLLI-UO.

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. Follow the links in the titles below to view full descriptions and information.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Mondays and Fridays, 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

Intermediate French Conversation

Mondays, 2:45–3:45 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator on Zoom


Intermediate French Conversation is for those whose listening and speaking skills are a bit rusty. It is not for true beginners. In our 60-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

Advanced French Conversation

Mondays, 4:00–5:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator at Baker Downtown Center


Advanced French Conversation is for those who speak French fluently. The 75-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.


Joanna Alexander

Nonfiction Book Group

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


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.

NOTE: this discussion group takes a break for the summer months (June–August).


August 28 and September 18: Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown, facilitated by Wendy Chase

October 2 and 16: The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee, facilitated by Gary Whiteaker

November 6 and 20:  Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, facilitated by Tom Carroll

December 4: An Immense World by Ed Yong, facilitated by Susan Walcott


Wendy Chase


Second and Fourth Mondays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator on Zoom


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

Page Turners Fiction Book Group

Second Mondays, 10:15 a.m.–noon

Registration is closed.


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!


Monday, August 14: The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan, facilitated by Randall Luce

Monday, September 11: Small Things Like These and Foster, novellas, both by Claire Keegan, facilitated by Katherine Kahr

Monday, October 9: The Body in Question by Jill Ciment, facilitated by Richard Romm

Monday, November 13: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, facilitated by Deb Hollens

Monday, December 11: A Change of Climate by Hillary Mantel, facilitated by Randall Luce

Monday, January 8: Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, facilitated by Monique Mulbry.


Deb Hollens

Understanding Science

First, Third, and Fifth Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m.–noon
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene, Bend Elks Lodge, and Zoom; facilitators at Elks Lodge and on Zoom

about this group

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 Wondrium professors.


July 18 through October 3, Understanding Science presents Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology

October 17 through March 19, Understanding Science presents Understanding Cognitive Biases


Russ Hopper, Barbara Nagai, and Elizabeth Polidan

Knowing the World Through Mathematics

First and Third Tuesdays, noon–2:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator at Baker Downtown Center


We show lectures from two different, yet complimentary, Great Courses series. In each meeting we will first look at intriguing mathematical topics presented in The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas (2003) presented by professors Michael Starbird and Edward B. Burger. After discussing the first video we will watch a lecture from The Great Course, The Evidence for Modern Physics: How We Know What We Know (2021) presented by Professor Don Lincoln and followed with group discussion.

Mathematics is about patterns; it is a language that helps people make sense of and find beauty in the world. This group runs like a conversational mathematics group, so some background in mathematics (particularly algebra) is desirable. We take up topics of mutual interest that have practical applications and/or that provide (often profound) insights into the natural, physical, mathematical and social sciences; artificial intelligence (AI); forensics; technology; engineering and the arts. We use a variety of YouTube, DVD, PowerPoint, spreadsheet, and informal presentations.


Mike Rose

International Relations

First and Third Wednesdays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitators at Baker Downtown Center


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


This autumn, International Relations will feature five sessions focusing on Vladimir Putin, Russia, and the War in Ukraine. These sessions will cover Putin’s background and his rise to height of power in Russia, his relationship with the U.S. and U.S. Presidents, his domestic control of Russia, and the challenges that he faces in the War in Ukraine.

October 4: Putin’s Road to War; facilitated by Stephen Koller

October 18: Putin and the Presidents; facilitated by Margot Zallen

November 1: Putin’s War at Home; facilitated by Deb Sorensen

November 15: Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes; facilitated by Stephen Koller

December 6: Putin’s Crisis; facilitated by Margot Zallen


Stephen Koller, Deb Sorensen, and Margot Zallen

Interpretive Play Reading

First and Third Wednesdays, 3:30–5:00 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitators on Zoom


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

Second and Fourth Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.–noon
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator on Zoom


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

Advanced Spanish Conversation

Thursdays, 3:15–4:30 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitators on Zoom


This group is fun for those who have had several years of Spanish classes and can read and converse fairly comfortably. At present we like to read and discuss novels, as well as discuss current events and share information about anything that appeals to us. Among our members are a couple of kind, patient native speakers. The rest of us commit our share of grammatical errors, and nobody is expected to be perfect. There is no teacher, no rules are engraved in stone, and we make our decisions democratically. Please visit our meetings and see if what we offer suits your needs. We are always eager and delighted to welcome new members.


Facilitators rotate on a weekly basis.

Bell' Italia e Italiano

First and Third Thursdays, noon–1:30 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitators at Baker Downtown Center


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.

The current course of study for Bell’ Italia e Italiano features the textbook, Easy Italian Reader (McGraw-Hill, 2nd or 3rd Edition).

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, Kathryn Hutchinson, Judy Johnston, Larry Kikuta, Rich Lari, Demetri Liontos, and Jorry Rolfe

Writers' Bloc

First and Third Thursdays, 1:00–3:00 p.m. Zoom
Second and Fourth Thursdays, 1:00–3:00 p.m. Bend Elks Lodge boardroom

NOTE: Group meets weekly, four times each month. Two meetings are in-person and two meetings are on Zoom. If interested in attending a session, please email for information.


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


Bruce Sharp

Discussing Science

Fourth Thursdays, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
Touchmark at Pilot Butte, Bend


Discussing Science is a monthly class that invites any member who wishes to introduce a science topic for discussion. If you have knowledge of the topic, feel free to share that if not you can introduce it to other members and invite their thoughts. The ongoing focus of this class is to discuss a variety of science topics. The idea is to have several members bring articles from online sources, periodicals, or books. Videos are also a good source of information and often make it easier to introduce the topic. The time spent on any topic will be dictated by how much discussion any topic generates. If you see something online you wish to share, please send a link to group facilitator Russ Hopper. Russ's contact information may be accessed in the Central Oregon member directory behind the OLLI-UO member portal. This discussion group only works with member participation.


September 28: Possible fixes for anxious kids, artificial intelligence models that get worse over time, feeling better about our understanding of quantum mechanics, geoengineering the weather in an ever-warming climate, plus other science topics that participants may have.


Russ Hopper

Open Forum

First and Third Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–noon
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom; facilitator at Baker Downtown Center


Open Forum discusses issues of group interest which range from international and national to state and local issues. Attendees are free to raise issues and topics in which they are interested. Discussions are free-flowing and open and provide participants with a positive way to share information, analysis, and opinions with each other. At the beginning of each session, the group focuses on some good, uplifting, and positive news.


Margot Zallen

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

SOCIALS AND Special Events

Join us for periodic social events that supplement our lectures, courses, and groups. Zoom links are emailed to all members the day before the start date, unless otherwise indicated. Follow the links in the titles below to view full descriptions and information.

OLLI-UO in Eugene/Springfield 30th Anniversary Celebration and Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, September 27, 12:30–2:30 p.m.
UO Baker Downtown Center, Eugene and Zoom

Registration is closed.

Note: Onsite participation at the Baker Downtown Center is encouraged, though a Zoom participation option will be provided for the program proper, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.


OLLI-UO in Eugene/Springfield turns 30 in 2023, and you are cordially invited to help celebrate this important milestone! Join your fellow members for a special program at this year’s Annual General Meeting event. The program includes a very special guest speaker, Dr. Alicia Salaz, UO Vice Provost and University Librarian, who will deliver a keynote address titled “Evolving Libraries”.

A multimedia OLLI-UO retrospective will also be presented, along with festive refreshments and results of the election for the 2023-24 Eugene/Springfield Governing Council. Plenty of time will be reserved for socializing before and after the program. Thank you for your part in making OLLI-UO a success for 30 years! Now, on to the next 30!

OLLI-UO in Central Oregon 20th Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, September 30, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Larkspur Community Center, 1600 SE Reed Market Road, Bend


OLLI-UO in Central Oregon turns 20 in 2023, and you are cordially invited to help celebrate! Enjoy finger food appetizers, spend time looking at photos and memorabilia from the past 20 years, and socialize with new and old friends. Emailed invitations are going out to both current and lapsed members, and we would love to see everyone who has ever been an OLLI member at this event.

Japan Day

Thursday, October 19, 11:15 a.m.
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, UO and UO Baker Downtown Center

Registration is closed.

Registration required.


Join us for a tour of the Asian collection at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the UO campus, followed by a noodle lunch at the UO Baker Downtown Center while watching Tampopo, a 1985 Japanese comedy. More details to come.

First Thursday Mix and Mingle

First Thursdays, 3:00–4:00 p.m.
Touchmark at Pilot Butte, Bend

This event is on hiatus after June 1 with plans to continue in the fall.


The first Thursday of the month, the Touchmark at Pilot Butte, Bend (formerly The Alexander) hosts a social hour with refreshments and snacks—open to both OLLI-UO members and Touchmark residents. Whether you want to see some old friends or make new ones, be sure to put the first Thursday of the month on your calendar! This "mix and mingle" is held in the multipurpose room on the first floor. See you there!


Central Oregon Membership Committee

First Thursday Zoom Social

First Thursdays, 3:00–4:00 p.m.


While some members will opt to attend the in-person Touchmark Mix and Mingle, others are invited to participate in our Zoom social. Back by popular demand, the Zoom social hour allows members from all locations to chat and get to know each other in a relaxed environment.


Elizabeth Polidan

Second Friday Central Oregon Coffee Hour

Second Fridays, 10:00–11:00 a.m.
The Grove, Bend


Come chat and get to know your fellow Central Oregon OLLI members! Join us at The Grove, a new food hall with restaurants and a market. We’ll be gathering at a table in front of Sebastian’s Seafood and Specialty Market.


Betsy Dickinson and Elizabeth Polidan

Chat and Chew in Central Oregon

Third Fridays, 11:45 a.m.

This social event is on hiatus until October 2023.


Moose Sisters restaurant (in Bend)


Lunch and in-person conversations with others are still a treat as we continue emerging from long periods of isolation. Join Central Oregon OLLI-UO members monthly at the Moose Sisters restaurant in Bend. Restaurant locations may change periodically, so check back for updates.


Gary Whiteaker

Contact Gary directly by looking up him up in the Central Oregon member directory, which can be downloaded from the OLLI-UO Member Portal.

Coffee with Friends

Fourth Mondays, 10:00 a.m.
Fifth Street Public Market, Eugene


Friends, conversation, coffee—what could better? Coffee with Friends is a casual, morning social event held monthly on the Eateries level (top floor) of the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene. (Look for the pushed together tables in the main, central seating area.)

Buy a cup of coffee downstairs, then come upstairs and be part of the conversation—about OLLI or anything else that's on your mind.

No reservations necessary—just come on by!


Eugene/Springfield Membership Committee

Fourth Tuesday Picnics in Central Oregon

Fourth Tuesdays, June–September, 12:30
Pine Nursery Park, Bend


Pack a brown-bag lunch and join your OLLI-UO friends for an outdoor lunch at Pine Nursery Park! Members should enter the park from Purcell Blvd near Ponderosa Elementary School. You’ll find us underneath a large tree approximately one football field west of the children’s play area. If you park in the first parking lot, you can walk through an opening in the fence and you will see us straight ahead. Members are encouraged to bring their own chairs and a brown-bag lunch. Let’s catch up while we enjoy some food and sunshine!

Please note that picnics will be dependent upon acceptable weather conditions. If in doubt, please check your email for any notice of cancellation. For more information, contact host Betsy Dickinson by looking her up in the Central Oregon member directory, which can be downloaded from the OLLI-UO Member Portal.


Betsy Dickinson

Third Friday Meet and Greet

Third Fridays, 2:00–3:30 p.m.


Get together with your fellow members at our regular OLLI-UO Meet and Greet on the third 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

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