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 the 2020-21 program year.
  • 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.



Enjoy lectures almost every week, year-round, from the comfort and safety of your home. Academic and professional experts speak on a wide range of cutting-edge social and political issues, science and technology, music, and the arts. Ask questions of the speakers via Zoom. Our teleconference lectures include the weekly lectures of the Thursday Morning Lecture Series (five series on different themes throughout the year with six individual lectures per series), the monthly Distinguished Lecture Series, and the Urgent and Critical Lecture Series. Read on for details!

Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS)

The OLLI Distinguished Lecture Series consists of ten lectures held on once per month on Tuesday mornings 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.

  • When: Second Tuesday of each month from 10:00 to 11:30 am
  • Where: All lectures are presented online via Zoom webinar
  • Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
  • Fee: $30 for a 5 lecture package, February-June
  • Fee: $55 for a 10 lecture package, September-June
Winter/Spring 2021 DLS Lectures
  • Stress and Brain Health from Biology to Social Context, Tuesday, January 12th (this is the last Fall lecture, session one)
  • How to Win the Game and Keep Winning, Tuesday, February 9 (this is the first Winter/Spring lecture, session two)
  • The Political Power of Optimism, Tuesday, March 9
  • What the First Amendment Really Means, Tuesday, April 13
  • The Economy: How Long Will It Take to Recover in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic?, Tuesday, May 11
  • Sovereignty Sharing in Fragile States, Tuesday, June 8
This Distinguished Lecture Series was planned by:
Laurie Barnett, Janet Fogler, Ron Frisch, Jerry Gardner, Ed Marcus, Leo Shedden, Marie Vitale, Katherine Woo, and Al Gourdji (Chair).
Want to join the Distinguished Lecture Committee?
Please contact Chair Al Gourdji by e-mail to
Also see:

Thursday Morning Lecture Series (TMLS)

There are five 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.

  • When: Thursday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 am
  • Where: All lectures are presented online via Zoom webinar
  • Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
  • Fee: $35 for a 6-week series
  • Fee: $140 for the all Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
  • Fee: $180 for all 43 Tuesday, Thursday, and Summer Lectures

Themes for Fall 2020 term

Themes for Winter/Spring 2021 term

Lunch Bunch Discussions

Lunch Bunch sessions in the OLLI Commons offer a chance for discussion following each of the lectures in the Thursday Morning Lecture Series. These discussion 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 will be held on Thursdays, June 10th, 17th and 24th from 10:00 to 11:30 am.

Fee $15 for the series or $10 for a single lecture daypass. OLLI membership is not required.

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

Urgent and Critical Lecture Series

Fall 2020

Winter/Spring 2021

    • It's Been a (COVID-19) Year: Where are we and Where are We Headed? (5 lectures during Winter/Spring 2021)
      • This series is co-hosted by OLLI-UM and the UM Turner Senior Wellness Program.
      • Free — No registration required
      • When: Third Tuesdays from January through May 2021, 10:00 to 11:30 am
      • Covid-19 Health Update: Trends, Treatment and Vaccines, Tuesday, January 19th
      • Mental Health Perspectives During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Tuesday, February 16th
      • Business in the Time of COVID: Current Challenges and Future Perspective, Tuesday, March 16th
      • COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on the Environment and Climate, Tuesday, April 20th
      • Shelter in Place: How the Pandemic is Changing our Cities, Neighborhoods and Homes, Tuesday, May 18th
    • Medical Ethics 101 (3 two-part lectures during Winter/Spring 2021)
      • What: Medical Ethics 101 is a three lecture series, as the name implies, covering the fundamentals of the field. This information is vital for normal times but is particularly valuable at a time such as the current with the COVID19 pandemic in full force. All of our three faculty members are members of the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School and two of them are physicians with active medical practices as well as duties as medical ethics consultants. The third, Ed Goldman, is an attorney whose whole career has been engagement in healthcare legal affairs.
      • When: First three Wednesdays in February from 10:00 to 11:30 am
      • Where: Online via Zoom webinar
      • Fees: $10 per lecture or $25 for the three lecture series
      • (a) History of Clinical Ethics and Ethics; and (b) Epidemics; and Clinical Ethics in the Time of Crisis, February 3rd
      • (a) Ethics at the End of Life: Principles and Case Discussions; and (b) The Interplay between Medical Ethics and Evolving Medical Science, February 10th
      • (a) Key Legal Cases in Medical Ethics; and (b) Ethics of Human Research, February 17th
    • Brain Aging and What You Can Do About It
      • What: Aging is associated with subtle declines in some cognitive functions, but not others. As we age, we tend to become a little more forgetful, we get distracted more easily, and we can’t process information quite as quickly. At the same time, verbal knowledge and what’s sometimes called wisdom tend to remain stable and may even improve with age. Why is that? This talk will explain what happens to our brains as we age, how those changes might relate to age-related cognitive
        declines, and what we can do to help our brains age more gracefully.
      • Speaker: Thad Polk, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan
      • Where: Online via Zoom
      • When: Thursday, March 4th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm
      • Fee: $10

Science Pop-Ups

Science Pop-Ups are hosted by Craig Stephan and comprise two (perhaps more) series of talks on a variety of scientific topics by experts in the field from all over the U.S. and Canada. The talks will be held on Thursday afternoons starting variously at 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00 pm, depending on the availability and time zone of the speaker. The talks are nominally 45-60 minutes in length, with plenty of time afterwards for questions and discussion. They do not presuppose any scientific expertise on the part of the participants.

The Science Pop-Ups Talks are brought to you by OLLI's Study Group Committee.

$10/talk or Series $35 for a series.
The talks are listed under Study Groups / Science Pop-Ups Talks in OLLI's online course Catalog.

Click on the headings below to show additional information about a series.

Series 1 consists of five talks on February 18 and 25, and March 11, 18 and 25

(1) Plasticity, epigenetics, & evolution, February 18, 3:00 - 4:30 pm

by Prof. David Pfennig, Univ. of North Carolina

Genes are widely regarded as the fundamental unit of heredity and source of all biological information.  Yet, many organisms can respond to changes in their environment by altering their features––during their lifetime––via ‘developmental plasticity.’ Moreover, these environmentally modified traits can sometimes be passed to offspring in the absence of changes in genes; that is, acquired traits can be inherited ‘epigenetically’.  In this talk, we will examine whether and how such environmentally induced changes to organismal development affect evolution. As we will see, research into developmental plasticity and epigenetics has major implications not only for evolution, but also for human health.

David Pfennig is professor of biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.  His research focuses on how the interplay between evolution, ecology, and development shapes biodiversity.  He has published numerous scientific papers, as well as a book - Evolution’s Wedge (with Karin Pfennig) - that seeks to integrate evolution and ecology.  His research has been featured on The National Geographic Channel, on PBS’s Nature series, and in The New York Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, Scientific American, New Scientist, and Discover, among other publications.

(2) What happened to the mammoths? Exploring the cause of North America’s most recent mass extinction , February 25, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

by Prof. Todd Surovell, Univ. of Wyoming

For most of the last two million years, North America was home to more than 40 species of large animals, like mammoths, mastodons, camels, and ground sloths.  These megafauna suffered a rapid extinction only 13,000 years ago at a time when the planet’s climate was warming, ecological communities were undergoing significant changes, and humans first appeared on the continent.  Disentangling the causes of this mass extinction event has been complicated and contentious to say the least.  In this talk, I will provide a personal narrative of my experience with the overkill hypothesis, and how I came to believe that if humans had never migrated to the New World, mammoths would still be roaming the continent today.

Todd A. Surovell is a Professor and Department Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming.  He is a former Director of the George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.  He received a B.A. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 and an M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2003) from the University of Arizona.  Although most of his fieldwork has been in Wyoming and Colorado, he has worked throughout the American West and in Israel and Denmark.  From 2012 to 2017, he completed a five-year ethnoarchaeological project with Dukha reindeer herders in northern Mongolia.  Over a ten-year period, he excavated Barger Gulch, Locality B, a Folsom site in Middle Park, Colorado, and is currently focusing his efforts on the La Prele Mammoth site, a Clovis kill and campsite in Converse County, Wyoming.  He has published more than 55 articles on Paleoindian archaeology, lithic technology, geoarchaeology, Pleistocene extinctions, ethnoarchaeology, and other topics.  He is also the author of a book on the economics of stone tool use titled Toward a Behavioral Ecology of Lithic Technology.  Originally from northern Virginia, he feels at home in the high plains and mountains of Wyoming where he has now lived for 17 years.

(3) Ten years later: Nuclear power after Fukushima, March 11, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

by Prof. M.V. Ramana, Univ. of British Columbia

Like the earlier nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986), the multiple accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that started on 11 March 2011 have had an impact on the future deployment of nuclear power. This talk will describe the current status of nuclear energy in different countries around the world and the evolution of its contribution to global electricity generation. It will then go on to outlining the various factors that will shape the future of nuclear energy, including the impacts of Fukushima, the costs of nuclear reactor construction, trends in renewable energy and other alternatives, social and technical challenges associated with nuclear energy such as radioactive waste disposal and the linkage to nuclear weapons, the imperative to mitigate climate change, and some of the other interests propelling continued investment in nuclear energy.

M.V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and, during 2020-21, a Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, all at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.  He is the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India (Penguin Books, 2012) and co-editor of Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream (Orient Longman, 2003). Ramana is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, the Canadian Pugwash Group, the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group, and the team that produces the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Leo Szilard Award from the American Physical Society.
March 11 is the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

(4) The Search for the Fountain of Youth, March 18, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

by Prof. Corinna Ross, Texas A&M Univ.

Although advances in medical care have resulted in increased human lifespan we have made relatively few advances in increasing human healthspan. While we continue to explore the mechanistic pathways of aging, it is important to also view aging as a systemic process associated with increased risk for diseases including cardiovascular disease, dementia, frailty, and cancer.  Animal models offer the advantage of being able to control environmental factors including nutrition and infection, as well as maintain lifelong confirmed medical history of the individual. The marmoset offers a unique nonhuman primate model for aging studies due to their short lifespan and small size. Marmosets have been found to display many aging diseases that mimic human aging including increased blood pressure, increased inflammatory disease, and decreased cognition. We have begun evaluating treatments in the marmosets that may prevent the loss of function due to aging. There is hope that one of these treatments may truly be the fountain of youth.

Corinna Ross is an Associate Professor of Biology at Texas A&M University San Antonio and an Associate Professor at the Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln (PhD 2005), University of Nebraska Omaha (MA 1999) and Cornell University (BS 1997). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, with a fellowship in the Biology of Aging. After joining the faculty at A&M San Antonio she was awarded a Claude D. Pepper Center research fellowship to continue training in translational gerontology. She is currently the Southwest National Primate Research Center Marmoset Colony Administrator, the San Antonio Marmoset Aging Program co-director, and the San Antonio Pepper Center Core co-director. Her research focuses on marmosets, which are small primates, to explore questions in primate behavior and physiology, and translational biomedicine.

(5) The scientific quest for the origin of life, March 25, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

by Prof. Nick Hud, Georgia Inst. of Technology

The principles of evolution are extremely powerful for understanding the relationship between extinct life forms found in the fossil record and contemporary life. The same principles are also helping us to understand the chemical origins of life, for which there are no clues in the fossil record. The search for the identity of the molecules that first gave rise to life is largely driven by researchers using what are called “bottom up” approaches, studies that often involve laboratory experiments designed to model environments and chemical reactions that are believed to have existed on earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. In contrast, researchers using “top down” approaches draw upon information provided by studies of living cells and their genes to reveal the evolutionary history of living organisms. A major goal of origins research is to use our knowledge of chemical and biological evolution to uncover a plausible and continuous path from small, abiotic molecules to living cells, a path that would link the discoveries of bottom-up and top-down researchers. Advances made during the past few years are showing the power of these two approaches, and how this combined effort may ultimately reveal the origin of life.

Nicholas Hud is Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also Director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution. Prof. Hud has studied the physical properties of DNA and RNA (the chemical sibling of DNA) for over twenty-five years. His research has produced insights regarding the packaging and functioning of DNA in living cells and viruses. Over the past decade, Prof. Hud’s research has become increasingly focused on questions related to the origin of life, and particularly the origin of RNA and polypeptides. Experiments carried out in his laboratory have provided several clues to how the first molecules of life could have spontaneously formed on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. Prof. Hud received his B.S. degree from Loyola Marymount University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. He conducted postdoctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at UCLA.

Series 2 consists of five talks on April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Thursdays, April 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm
$10/Lecture; Series $35
The talks are listed under Study Groups / Science Pop-Ups Talks in the online Course Catalog.

April 1
Food addiction
by Prof. Ashley Gearhardt, Dept. of Psychology, University of Michigan

April 8
The bacterial resistance problem and why we should care
by Prof. Herman Sintim, Dept. of Chemistry, Purdue University

April 15
Modern weather analysis and forecasting: How do we know when we are getting better and why probabilistic weather forecasting is here to stay
by Prof. Lance Bosart, Dept. of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York

April 22
Dinosaurs to Milankovitch Cycles:  Earth’s climate the past 250 million years
by Dr. Tucker Compton, Sciences and Exploration Directorate, NASA

April 29
The Artificial Intelligence Revolution in Medicine
by Prof. Oge Marques, Computer Science and Engineering. Florida Atlantic University

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)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

In 2019, OLLI-UM adopted a strategic plan that mandated the creation of our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to ensure that DEI values would be infused throughout our program at every level. The committee drafted a mission statement which is detailed below. Our goal was to lay out a roadmap for the program and ourselves, so that we would be accountable in realizing our objectives.

Click on the headings below to show or hide a topic.

DEI Mission Statement

The mission of the DEI Committee is to increase the diversity of OLLI membership and create an environment that welcomes all; increase awareness of racial, social, economic, educational and health disparities experienced by marginalized communities; encourage members’ self- education and self-reflection on issues related to implicit bias; and promote positive, transformational change leading to the eradication of racial and social injustice in ourselves, the OLLI membership, and the community-at-large.

How We Will Do This

  • Spearheading efforts that lead to continuing awareness and education of our members on issues related to racial and social inequities through lectures, workshops, book discussions, and study groups, and encouraging members to initiate their own self-education on these issues.
  • Working closely with other OLLI committees to ensure DEI principles are infused and integrated throughout the program.
  • Partnering both within UM and with external organizations with similar aims to collaborate on relevant programming and initiatives.
  • Evaluating the outcomes of our DEI strategies, wherever possible, in order to identify and implement continuous improvements and identify positive and negative outcomes such that initiatives can either be continued or improved upon.

In keeping with the mission statement, many thought-provoking lectures and classes are included for the Winter/Spring 2021 term. We are intentionally offering many different formats to explore these complex topics, including lectures, dialogs, and study groups. We will be sending surveys after each event so that we can incorporate participant feedback and continue to improve.

In a strategic effort of outreach to UM and the broader community, OLLI has sought and deepened partnerships with such organizations as the UM Turner African American Services Council (TAASC), Ypsilanti District Library, UM Ford School of Public Policy and UM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The DEI Committee has now started to identify additional partners with similar aims to determine shared interests, and together plan activities, programming and educational opportunities to expand our collective reach.

As you can see, OLLI has set in motion a thoughtful and determined process for fulfilling our DEI mission and values as outlined in our strategic plan. But we are just getting started!  With the DEI Committee’s leadership, OLLI and our programs will become richer and deeper in meaningful ways, and so will each of us. Please join us so that all voices can be heard and represented in our community and beyond.

DEI Highlights for Winter/Spring 2021:

  • DEI: Turner African American Services Council (TAASC) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (four lectures)
    • Sponsored by TAASC in collaboration with The Department of Geriatrics, Turner Senior Wellness Program, Community Health Services, Bethel AME Church, and Program for Multicultural Health
    • All events are virtual and free, open to the public, and registration is not required
    • Call Jennifer Howard at (734) 998-9353 for more information and to register. Registered individuals will receive a Zoom link before the event.
    • Systemic Racism: COVID-19 & the African American Experience in Michigan, January 23, 2021, 1:00 to 3:30 pm
    • Education and Black History, February 27, 2021
    • Social Justice, May 8, 2021
    • Hope for the Future, October 9, 2021
  • DEI: Anti-Racism Exploration / Discussion Series of Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
    • January 19th, February 2nd and 16th, March 2nd from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
    • Optional continuation with monthly 2-hour, single topic discussions with readings from April to December 2021
    • Free, open to the public and registration is not required
  • Afternoons with OLLI: Washtenaw Refugee Coalition leader and founder Beth Wilensky
  • OLLI Out of Town: Myanmar: Land of Golden Temples and Floating Villages
  • Thursday Morning Lecture Series: Central America: Coffee to Caravans
  • OLLI @ Home: Art and Activism with the Azzaros
  • OLLI Reads: Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall and The Spirit Ambulance by Scott Stonington
  • Study Group: Crises in U.S. – North Korean Relations – Dealing with an Enigmatic, Hostile Power
  • Study Group: Susan Rice – A Remarkable Life and Career
  • Study Group: The Formation of Islamic Culture
  • Study Group: Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home
  • Study Group: Institutional Racism and Our Prisons

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.

Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)

A Shared Interest Group (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.
  • SIGs vary in how often they meet.
  • A SIG does not have a formal ending date.
  • A SIG may be formed by OLLI members because of a particular ongoing interest that is not offered in a study group.
  • A SIG may also be formed to socialize and learn together in a group that meets regularly.

Start a SIG

If you ever wanted to start a long-term group activity, submit a proposal for a Shared Interest Group through OLLI. Applications accepted at any time. Contact the OLLI office for details.

Ongoing SIGs

OLLI currently has four active SIGs that are full and two SIGs with space available, but which are on hiatus due to COVID-19.

  • Literary Short Fiction, Full †
  • The Future of Healthcare in the U.S., Full †
  • Mystery Book Club, Full †
  • A Study of Ethics, Full †
  • Needlework Artists, on hiatus during COVID-19, open with space available, enrollment limited.
  • Bicycling for Fun & Fitness on Paved Trails, this SIG exists, but has never met due to COVID-19. The hope is to start active trail riding in April 2021. This will be revisited as we approach the April date. We will review restrictions in place at that time and individual personal safety concerns in determining our path forward.

† You may register to add your name to the wait list of a full SIG and the OLLI Office will contact you if a spot opens.

Want to get involved with Special Interest Groups (SIGs)?
Please contact OLLI Director Lisa Barton by e-mail to libarton@med.umich.

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, but one of the Winter/Spring meetings is in the evening. Afternoons with OLLI provides informal learning in a congenial group setting. Local personalities present programs in the late afteernoon or early evening to encourage attendance by pre-retirees as well as retirees.

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.

  • When: 3:30 to 5 pm, Tuesday January 19 and Wednesdays February 17, March 17,† April 21, May 19, and June 16.
    † 7:00 to 8:30 pm on March 17th.
  • Where: Online via Zoom.
  • Fees: $5 per event or $25 for a package of six events. Free to new members during their first year!
  • Membership: This is one OLLI activity that you do not need to be a member to attend.
  • Registration: To register without being a member or to register for free in your first year, please mail in an event registration form to the office.

Highlights for Winter/Spring 2021

  • A meal without Wine is called Breakfast — A conversation with Dick Scheer, Distinguished Wine Merchant and owner of Ann Arbor’s Village Corner, Tuesday, January 19 <<< Note the day!
  • Washtenaw Refugee Coalition — Refugees Given a Voice, Wednesday, February 17th
  • Put a Spark under your Butt — E-bikes (Electric bikes), Wednesday, March 17th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm <<< Note the time!
  • 102 Years of Local Food: the past, present, and future of the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, Wednesday, April 21st
  • A Band for all Ages — The Little Bands Music School, Wednesday, May 19th
  • Heard Around Town: Michigan Speak — hear about what is happening to English in Michigan and share the changes you’re hearing in the language, Wednesday, June 16th

Out of Town Trips

OLLI Out of Town is back with virtual trips to sites around southeast Michigan and, sometimes, even farther afield.

OLLI has transitioned from in-person travel to virtual travel and is offering five dynamic programs to provide you with a kickoff into your weekend on five Friday afternoons.

  • Select Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
  • $10 per trip or $45 for a package of 5.
  • All programs are presented online.

Trip Highlights for Winter/Spring 2021

  • Myanmar: Land of Golden Temples and Floating Villages, January 22nd
  • The Many Dimensions of Chicago, February 26th
  • A Virtual Tour of DIA exhibit, “Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City”, March 26th
  • A Virtual Tour of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, April 23rd
  • Alden B. Dow and Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Southeast Michigan, May 28th

Want to join the OLLI Out of Town Committee?
Please contact Chair Ruth Primas by e-mail to

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 a discussion. OLLI Reads is free and open to the public.

There are two books on the schedule for Winter/Spring 2021:

Torn From the Headlines

New for Winter/Spring 2021

Weighty news topics break each day, and many times the immediacy and importance of the issues warrant more than just a sound bite. This monthly series goes behind the news headlines with a two-part program each month!

On Monday afternoons you will hear from an expert on a timely topic from the news, with the opportunity for an extended Q&A. Topics may include politics, law, international relations, science, health, the arts and more. In keeping with the fast-changing news, topics and speakers will be announced shortly before each session. That means you won’t know the topic or the speaker when you sign up for the series in advance! But you do know that since it’s brought to you by OLLI that it will be of the same excellence and rigor that you’ve come to expect.

All sessions will be moderated by OLLI instructor and member Karen Bantel. Relevant written materials will be provided.

Torn Speaker:
Second Mondays from January to June, 4-5 pm
January 11, February 8, March 8, April 12, May 10, and June 7

Fees: $55/series or $10/per presentation session.

The follow-up discussions in the OLLI Commons on Tuesdays have been discontinued.

OLLI @ Home

New for Winter/Spring 2021

Stay In or Go Out as You Explore the Treasures of Washtenaw County

As we plan for 2021 and anticipate a second Covid-19 winter and spring, join Olli @ Home as we experience some old and new treasures of Washtenaw County. Whether you embrace the Danish concept of Hygge (cozily staying in) or the Norwegian concept of Friluftsliv (happily going out in nature), you’ll find a lot to enjoy in OLLI @ Home.

This series of 11 programs on Monday afternoons from January through May, is designed to introduce experiences and opportunities that may brighten our days at home or encourage us to go out for an adventure. If the “eating” sounds more fun than the cooking and baking, we can watch the cooking and baking demos and enjoy the results by ordering and popping in for takeout. And who amongst us wouldn’t enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee or tea, a glass of wine with cheese or a sampler of artisanal chocolate?

In addition, the programs will remind us of some of the people, businesses and institutions that are indeed treasures of our community, and introduce some new ones. Our programs will also offer us a chance to support these treasures as they strive to continue to be part the community during and after Covid-19.

$10/individual program and $90 for the series. There may be additional costs for kits or samplers for individual events (optional). Once you register, you will receive details about purchasing and pick up before the event.

Let’s Build Our Community of OLLI @ Home Members!

Whether you are hiking in some new winter gear, learning about succulent care from a book, baking or eating a cheesecake, deciding which new biodynamic wine is your favorite — make a selfie and e-mail it to We’ll put it in the OLLI Weekly and on OLLI’s Facebook page.

Highlights for OLLI @ Home, Winter/Spring 2021

  • Celebrating and Engaging with Nature this Winter, Monday, January 4
  • Birding 101, Monday, January 18
  • Italian Cooking Demo and Wine Pairings with Paesano’s, Monday, February 1
  • All about Succulents, Monday, February 15
  • A Tea Tasting Experience with TeaHaus of Ann Arbor, Monday, March 1
  • A Coffee Experience with Steve Mangigian, Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Monday, March 15
  • Cheesecakes!, Monday, March 29
  • Sip and Nibble with Tommy York, Monday, April 5
  • Art and Activism and the Azzaros, Monday, April 19
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Chocolate, Monday, May 3
  • Sauerkraut and Beyond: The Art and Necessity of Traditionally Fermented Foods, Monday, May 17
  • (Cancelled) A Visit to the UM Peony Garden.

Kickoffs, Open Houses, Fundraisers, and Tutorials

This category typically includes:

  • Fall Kickoff event(s) held each September;
  • OLLI's Virtual Winter 2021 Open House will be held on January 6th from 10:00 am to noon:
    • A talk, Discovering ... at our age, in this age, by Brian Worthmann, a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a crowd favorite OLLI Study Group Instructor;
    • A conversation with OLLI Program Chairs;
    • Who Knew? Discoveries during 2020: Lisa Barton and Laurie Barnett;
    • Online via Zoom: Link:, Zoom ID: 937 3181 9875, Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799;
  • Big Hearts for Seniors’ virtual storytelling workshops, January 16th, 10:00 am to noon. Free, but you must apply.
  • OLLI Annual Meeting and Election held in May;
  • Big Hearted Stories: Generations, the Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event, 7 pm on May 27th, and
  • Tutorials that provide an introduction to OLLI's programs and services:
    • Zooming with OLLI, free Zoom training, three sessions on Monday, January 11th at 1 pm, Wednesday, January 13th at 10 am, and Friday, January 15th at 3 pm.
      Sign up for a Zoom training session by emailing You will receive an invitation to a training by e-mail one-day prior to the session.

If you missed the July 2020 Big Hearts for Seniors event you can watch Big Hearted Stories, a video from the event.

Also see:

OLLI Commons

The OLLI Commons is a free and open Zoom meeting space available to OLLI members regularly scheduled informal gatherings that meet once a month, twice a month, or every week. The Commons was created to make it easy and free to connect and talk with others as we remain limited to a largely virtual world. You can create or join an ongoing group. While participation in OLLI Commons events is free, registration is required. The OLLI annual membership fee does not have to be paid to register for Commons events.

Check the Commons calendar to see what’s occurring when. Enter the Commons' Zoom address in your browser to join the discussion. Join every time the group meets or only when you want to be part of a conversation.

Scheduled Commons Events

To register for an OLLI Commons event, sign-in using your e-mail address and password, then clink on one of the links above or visit the Commons section of the online Course Catalog. You must register for each OLLI Commons event you want to attend. The Zoom links you'll need to join the Commons meetings are sent out via e-mail to those who have registered in advance of the meeting and are listed in the Event Details for the event available from the online Course Catalog and on your Payment History page if you are signed in and registered for the event.

For added security, all Commons events are locked ten minutes after they begin, so please arrive promptly!



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 is Free

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 $10 Discount Coupon

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

Afternoons with OLLI Events are Free in a Member's First Year

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

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. The process applies only to Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs). Registration for other OLLI programs continues on a first-come-first-served basis.

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

An initial equal opportunity registration registration period will run from mid-August to early September for Fall term and from mid-December to early January for Winter/Spring term. You can register at any time during these periods 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 e-mail a few days after the lottery is conducted.

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 12th.

As before, you can register on-line or by mail. There will be no in-person registration for the 2020-21 program year. Online registration is the preferred method this term since the OLLI staff's ability to process mailed registrations is more limited due to COVID-19.

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.