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 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 blue "Register Online" button at the left of the page.
- To register by filling out a "paper form", click the blue "Register for Events by Mail or in Person" menu item at the left to download the form as a PDF. Then print it, fill it out, and send it by U.S. Mail or bring it to the OLLI Office. You may also register for events in person at OLLI lectures.
- 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.
- A list of changes and corrections is available and includes events that have new dates, have been cancelled, or have been moved to a new location.
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, and frequently there is an opportunity to join the speaker at a dutch-treat lunch afterwards.
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 2019-20 are:
- South Africa (9/12-10/17)
- Voting in America (10/31-12/12)
- Social Media (1/9/20-2/13/20)
- The Power of Art - Its Impact in Southeastern Michigan (2/20-4/2)
- Money, Trade, and Power - What Makes the World Go 'Round (4/16-5/21)
Lectures are presented from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. (with occasional exceptions when a lecture might start earlier and run from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. or later and run from 10:30 a.m. to noon) on Thursdays at Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor.
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.
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. at Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor. Fee $15 for the series or $10 per lecture at the door. OLLI membership is not required.
The theme for the Summer 2020 Lecture Series will be "Water in Michigan".
There are five 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)
From “Falling in Love with Love Poetry” to “Where Two Worlds Meet - The Great Lakes Fur Trade,” 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.
“Evenings With OLLI” is the new name for what was called "After 5" in previous years. Evenings 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.
Cost: $5.00 per event or $15 for a package of 4 events.
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.
“Show Your O” Events are activities around town you can enjoy with other OLLI members. Explore Ann Arbor with OLLI friends new and old! Show Your O events are informal events, often scheduled on short notice. Keep your eye out for OLLI volunteers and staff who will be greeting OLLI members in the lobby before the event begins, wearing their “OLLI O” buttons. OLLI O buttons will be available that day to any OLLI members attending.
OLLI membership is not required. Show Your O events are announced via e-mail, on our Facebook page, and in the OLLI online catalog. No R.S.V.P. required.
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.
Cost: $75 to $142 per trip (depending on the trip), which includes lunch, snacks, and tips.
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! 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.
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, the OLLI Open House held at the start of the winter term in January, the OLLI Annual Meeting and Election held in May, and the Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event.
- View OLLI's 2019 Kickoff speaker Alfreda Rooks on OLLI's New Vision - Implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (video)
- OLLI Winter 2020 Open House Brochure (pdf)
For more information on Big Hearts for Seniors see:
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.
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 will be given a credit 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.
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 for study groups that are cancelled.
The OLLI annual membership fee is not refundable.
There are two ways you can access your credit:
- Online — Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a credit 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.
- Paper Registration — When you send in or drop off 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 email@example.com.
Event Request/Registration Procedure for Study Groups, Special Events, Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) and OLLI Out of Town Events
OLLI has created a more equitable registration process that also addresses operational problems on the first day of registration. The new process applies only to Study Groups, Special Events, Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) and OLLI Out of Town programs. Registration for lectures and Evenings with OLLI has not changed and remains on a first-come-first-served basis.
Here is what you need to know for Study Groups, Special Events, Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) and OLLI Out of Town registration:
The initial registration period will run from 9:00am Friday, December 13 to 4:00pm Tuesday, January 14. 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 Thursday, January 16.
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 January 14.
As before, you can register on-line, by mail, or in-person at the OLLI office. You can also register at the Winter Open House held at Washtenaw Community College on Monday, January 13th. OLLI office only accepts cash and check for in person registration.
All payments must be made at the time of registration.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 998-9351.
OLLI study groups and lectures are automatically cancelled whenever Ann Arbor Public Schools cancels school due to severe weather. Check your local television or radio stations, the AAPS Web site, or call the AAPS at (734) 994-8684 or OLLI at (734) 998-9351 for recorded messages.
If an OLLI event is cancelled, we will make every effort to reschedule. If you are not able to attend, or if we are not able to reschedule, you may request a refund or credit. The OLLI annual membership fee is not refundable.
Viewing videos on DVDs
DVDs of past lectures are available for checkout at any OLLI lecture and from the OLLI Office at the Turner Senior Resource Center.
Viewing videos online
Starting in early 2020 OLLI members will be able to view OLLI lectures online. An OLLI username and password will be used for access to a new video catalog via the OLLI website. Most Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS, held on Tuesdays), Thursday Morning Lecture Series (TLS), and Summer Lecture Series (SLS) which have occurred since OLLI moved to WCC in the fall of 2017 will be available. Special lectures, e.g. the Fall Kickoff lectures will also be available. Exceptions are those lectures for which the lecturers did not provide recording authorization. Due to the time required to edit the lecture videos, the addition of closed captions and the inclusion of presentation slides, etc. the videos will not be available in "real time". Online access is expected to be available about 7 days after the lectures occur. For members who are registered to attend the lecture in-person, there is no fee to view online. For all others, a fee will apply.
Thursday Morning Lecture Series: OLLI offers a post lecture lunch at the lecture venue once every series. The dates for the individual lunches are listed in the print and online catalogs and in the lecture brochures. There is a fee to cover the cost. Please register for lunch online or in-person at least one week in advance.