screen shot of an OLLI Zoom meeting
An OLLI Zoom meeting

Programs & Activities

OLLI-UM offers multiple avenues by which members can explore new ideas, enhance creativity, and engage their minds.

Included below are brief descriptions of the categories of events OLLI offers followed by information on scholarships, event cancellation, other policies, and a list of OLLI venues. Click on the links for more information about a topic.

  • For a complete list of OLLI events, you can view the online Course Catalog.
  • A PDF version of the print Catalog is available online.
  • To register and pay for events online using a credit card, click on the "Register Online" menu at the left of the page. The online method is preferred for Fall 2020.
  • To register by filling out a "paper form", click the "Register for Events by Mail" menu item at the left to download the form as a PDF. Then print it, fill it out, and send it to OLLI by U.S. Mail.
  • If you haven't yet paid your annual OLLI membership fee (September to August), you can do that at the same time that you register for an event.


Distinguished Lecture Series

The OLLI Distinguished Lecture Series consists of ten lectures held on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., once per month from September through June. The speakers are well-informed experts from town and gown who share their specialized knowledge in an engaging manner. Each lecture is just the beginning; a stimulating question-and-answer period follows most sessions.

Lectures are presented from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays online.
The full ten lecture series costs $55 (package pricing only available in the fall). Two half term sessions of five lectures each are also available. Session One runs from September through January. Session Two runs from February through June. The half term sessions cost $30 each. In addition OLLI members may drop in to individual lectures by paying $10 at the door.
Also see:

Thursday Morning Lecture Series

 There are five OLLI Thursday Morning Lecture Series each year. Each series offers six lectures on a unifying theme and a variety of speakers covering specific aspects of the theme. Learning continues in an active question-and-answer period following each lecture.

 This five themes for 2020-21 are:

Lectures are presented from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays online.

 OLLI members can pay $35 per 6-week session or $140 for a pass admitting them to all five Thursday Morning Lecture series (a savings of $65 - package pricing only available in the fall). In addition, OLLI members may drop in to individual lectures by paying $10 at the door.

Lunch Bunch Discussions

Lunch Bunch OLLI Commons sessions for discussion follow each of the lectures in the Thursday Morning Lecture Series. These discussion and personal reflection sessions are free—no registration required. Each discussion and reflection session will be led by a member of the sub-committee that created the lecture series.

Zoom Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503
Zoom link:
Audio only dial:  1-312-626-6799

Summer Lecture Series

Part of the Thursday Morning Lecture Series, this three lecture series is held on Thursdays in June and July from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. online. Fee $15 for the series or $10 per lecture at the door. OLLI membership is not required.

The theme for the Summer 2021 Lecture Series will be "Food Insecurity".

Lecture Series Packages

There are six lecture series packages:

  • Distinguished Lecture Series Package, September–June
    • 10 lectures for $55, save $45, available only in the fall
  • Distinguished Lecture Series Session 1, September–January
    • 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available only in the fall
  • Distinguished Lecture Series Session 2, February–June
    • 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available in fall and winter/spring
  • Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
    • 33 lectures for $140, save $65, available only in the fall
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
  • All Lecture Series Package
    • 43 lectures for $180, save $125, available only in the fall
    • Includes Distinguished Lecture Series (10 lectures)
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
  • All Lecture Series Package plus Election 2020
    • 49 lectures for $210, save $130, available only in the fall
    • Includes Distinguished Lecture Series (10 lectures)
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
    • Includes Election 2020 Series (6 lectures)

Study Groups: Small group learning

From “Art History I - Paleolithic through New Kingdom Egypt” to “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works” and everything in between, OLLI Study Groups offer something for everyone. For a small-group learning experience in which participants can discuss issues, share knowledge, and grow in unexpected ways, OLLI Study Groups can’t be beat! More than 75 high-quality courses are offered each term (Fall and Winter/Spring/Summer), and may last anywhere from one to 10 weeks or more.

Cost: $10 to $95 per event.

Afternoons with OLLI: Informal learning at friendly gatherings

“Afternoons with OLLI” is the new name for what was called "Evenings with OLLI" in previous years. Afternoons with OLLI provides informal learning in a congenial group setting. Local personalities present programs in the early evening to encourage attendance by pre-retirees as well as retirees. This is one OLLI activity that you do not need to be a member to attend. To register without being a member, please mail in an event registration form to the office. 

Afternoons with OLLI offers a wide variety of programming to enjoy as we explore Ann Arbor, southeast Michigan, and our wonderful Great Lakes state. Programs feature local personalities, engaging stories about our community and state, and delve into current issues.

Cost: $5.00 per event or $10 for a package of 3 events.

Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)

OLLI has a new program option known as a Shared Interest Group (SIG). A SIG brings people together who have a common interest that they wish to pursue indefinitely within a structure of meetings and activities designed primarily by the members of the group. A SIG will strive to develop a sense of community and friendship among its members even as it endeavors to enhance members’ skills, education, and experiences.

A SIG is different from a traditional Study Group

  • A SIG does not have a formal class syllabus.
  • Members of a SIG determine the content and discussion of a SIG. A designated facilitator arranges meetings, takes attendance, and initiates the discussion among the SIG members on how the group will operate.
  • Persons within a SIG are assured of ongoing membership in it until they decide not to participate.
  • A SIG does not have a formal ending date.

Out of Town Trips

Southeast Michigan is replete with fascinating exhibits, museums, and neighborhoods of historical/cultural significance. OLLI in cooperation with external travel companies is happy to offer interesting and informative day trips to explore what our area has to offer.

There are no trips planned for the Fall 2020 session.

Please be aware that these trips are not provided by the University of Michigan. You must be an OLLI member to participate in these trips. The OLLI membership fee is $25 per year and is paid directly to OLLI.

Please print out and complete this emergency medical form to keep with you on the trip

OLLI Reads!

 OLLI Reads! is a shared experience where we read and discuss a common book. As OLLI members, we read a book at the same time, then come together for a presentation by the author, followed by lunch and table discussions.

Kick Offs, Open Houses, Fundraisers, and Tutorials

Special Events are activities that don't fit neatly into one of the categories listed above. They typically include the:

  • Fall Kickoff event held each September;
  • OLLI Open House held at the start of the winter term in January;
  • OLLI Annual Meeting and Election held in May;
  • Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event held in the spring; and
  • Tutorials that provide an introduction to OLLI's programs and services.

Also see:

OLLI Commons

The OLLI Commons is a free and open Zoom meeting space available to OLLI members for one-time events at member request or for regularly scheduled informal gatherings that meet once a month, twice a month, or every week.

  • First Friday Happy Hour — the first Friday of each month from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, starting September 4, 2020.
  • The Schmoozery — Every Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, starting September 30, 2020.
  • The Lunch Bunch — Every Thursday from noon to 1 pm, starting September 10, 2020.
  • Coffee + Show or Tell — the first and third Tuesday of the month from 9:00 to 10:00 am, starting September 8, 2020.
  • OLLI Book Beat — Every fourth Tuesday from 1 to 2 pm, starting September 22, 2020.
  • The New Member Exchange — Every fourth Monday from 1 to 2 pm, starting September 28, 2020.
  • Physics Commons — Wednesday, November 4, 2020 starting 15 minutes after the 7 pm public lecture, A Physicist's Adventures in Virology, and Saturday, November 17, 2020 starting at 12:30 pm, following the UM Saturday Morning Physics lecture.

Zoom Link to join this programming:
Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503
Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799



OLLI reserves the right to substitute speakers. The views expressed are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Michigan.

First Lecture

You may attend your first OLLI lecture for free and without becoming an OLLI member. After that, membership is required in order to attend lectures. The annual membership fee is $25/year and covers the period from September through August. Once you are a member, you can drop in to any lecture for $10.

Study Group Coupon

Never taken an OLLI-UM study group before? Enjoy $10 off your first study group registration.

Afternoons with OLLI

All new members are welcome at all Afternoons with OLLI events as our guest in their first year as a members.

Dropping OLLI Lectures, Study Groups, and Other Events

Contact the OLLI Office to drop OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events. If the event is dropped before the first meeting for single session events and before the second meeting for multiple session events, you can be given a credit or refund for the event’s fee. Call the OLLI Office to use your credits as payment toward other OLLI events. If the event is dropped after the second meeting, no credit will be given, but it is still important to drop so that we’ll know who is attending and to possibly open up space for someone on a waiting list.

Credits and Refunds

Contact the OLLI Office to find out what your credit balance is and to use your available credits as payment toward other OLLI events. Credits do not expire, but you need to explicitly ask to use them. Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot use your credits online.

OLLI will issue credits, or grant a refund upon request, for study groups that are cancelled.

The OLLI annual membership fee is not refundable.

There are two ways you can access your credit:

  1. Online — Please send us an email at requesting a refund when you submit your online registration. Unfortunately we are unable to process credits during your online registration, but we can issue a refund from the office when you send us an email.
  2. Paper Registration — When you send in your paper registration form, please make a note that you are using a credit, and subtract the credit amount from the total due.

The OLLI office tries to process refunds as quickly as possible, but it may take several weeks to receive your credit/refund. Refunds are given online for online payments, and by check for cash or check payments. If you have any questions please direct them to

Waiting Lists

When an event is full, members who would like to attend are placed on a waiting list. If space for the event opens up, the OLLI Office will contact the individuals on the waiting list by e-mail or phone in first come first served order to see if they still wish to register.

Event Request/Registration Procedure for Study Groups and Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)

OLLI has created a more equitable registration process that also addresses operational problems on the first day of registration. The process applies only to Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs). Registration for lectures and Afternoons with OLLI has not changed and remains on a first-come-first-served basis.

Here is what you need to know for Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) registration:

The initial registration period will run from 9:00am Wednesday, August 5 to 9:00 am Tuesday, September 8. You can register at any time during this period and receive equal consideration for classes that become oversubscribed.

All oversubscribed programs will be subject to a lottery to give everyone an equal chance to get in. Early registration does not increase your chances.

Everyone who applies for programs that become subject to the lottery will be notified of the outcome by Friday, September 11.

Members who are not selected will be given refunds, placed on a wait list and invited to join if space becomes available. Our goal is to issue the refunds during the week after the lottery.

Registration for classes that are not full will still be possible on a first-come-first-served basis after September 7.

As before, you can register on-line or by mail. There will be no in-person registration for the Fall session.

All payments must be made at the time of registration.

Gift Certificates

OLLI members may purchase gift certificates and give them to others to cover the fees for OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events. Contact the OLLI Office for details.


Scholarships are available to offset or eliminate the costs of OLLI membership and/or programming. Scholarships are available for membership and all programs, including lectures, study groups, out of town trips, shared interest groups (SIGs), OLLI Reads, and special events. No income verification is required. For more information or to request scholarship assistance, please contact us by email or phone, or (734) 998-9351.

Severe Weather Class Cancellation

One of the positives of being online only is that lectures and classes will continue online in any weather. 

Lecture Videos

Viewing videos online

OLLI members can access past lectures in OLLI’s Video Catalog. Some of our videos have been watched over 600 times since this service was launched in March 2020 - check out OLLI’s amazing video offerings!

You use OLLI's Video Catalog to locate, if necessary purchase, and to view videos. Access to some videos is free and available to the public. Viewing most videos, however, requires a current OLLI membership. Access to videos comes automatically with no additional fee when you register for the lecture or lecture series. Access to videos may also be purchased for an additional fee. You sign in using your OLLI username and password to access these videos.

Most OLLI lectures starting in Fall 2017 are recorded including the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS, held on Tuesdays), Thursday Morning Lecture Series (TMLS), Summer Lecture Series (SLS), and Special lectures, e.g. the Fall Kickoff lectures, the Climate Change series and the Urgent and Critical series. Exceptions are those lectures for which the lecturers did not provide recording authorization, lectures that were canceled or where there was a technical problem. If a lecture is postponed, its recording should be available at a later date.

Due to the time required to edit the lecture videos, add closed captions, and include presentation slides, new videos are usually added to the Video Catalog about 10 days after a lecture occurs.


  • An online tutorial is available to help members navigate the video catalog and view videos.
  • Or see a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers available under Video Help for more details.


The fees for online video access follow OLLI's regular fee structure as outlined below, but remember that there is no additional charge if you purchased access to the lecture or lecture series when it was live:

  • Annual Membership fee                                                     — $  25 (required)
  • All Lecture Series Package (DLS/TMLS/SLS)                        — $180
  • All Lecture Series Package and Election 2020 Series            — $210
  • One TMLS Series (6)                                                         — $  35
  • Urgent and Critical Series: Climate Change, Election 2020   — $  35
  • DLS Lectures (10)                                                            — $  55
  • DLS Lectures (5)                                                              — $  30
  • Day pass/one lecture                                                        — $  10
  • Lectures from prior program years                                     — $    3*
  • Fall Kickoff, Winter Open House, Tutorials                          — No Fee
  • Lectures from past years                                                   — $  3 per lecture.

* Current OLLI membership is required to view past years’ lectures.