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 2021-22 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 in-person at WCC and online via Zoom webinar.
  • Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
  • Fee: $30 for a 5 lecture package, September-January
  • Fee: $60 for a 10 lecture package, September-June
Distinguished Lectures, Session I
Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century
Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 - 11:30am
Professor Gerald F. Davis
Finding Catholics In Early America: Lessons From the Archives
Tuesday, October 11, 10:00 - 11:30am
Professor Susan Juster
What Happened on November 8, 2022
Tuesday, November 22, 10:00 - 11:30am (DIFFERENT DATE)
Professor Michael Traugott
Archaeology and Heritage along the Nile in the Heartland of Ancient Kush
Tuesday, December 13, 10:00 - 11:30am
Dr. Geoff Emberling
What Should the Work Ethic Mean for Us Today?
January 10, 10:00 - 11:30am
Professor Elizabeth Anderson
This Distinguished Lecture Series was planned by:
Janet Fogler, Ron Frisch, Jerry Gardner, Beverley Geltner, Leo Shedden, Marie Vitale, Katherine Woo, and Al Gourdji (Chair).
Want to join the Distinguished Lecture Committee?
Please contact Chair Bev Geltner by e-mail to

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: $36 for a 6-week series
  • Fee: $190 for the all Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
  • Fee: $220 for all 43 Tuesday, Thursday, and Summer Lectures

Themes for Fall 2022 term

  • Turmoil in Eastern Europe: Ukraine and Beyond (9/22-10/28)
  • Will Democracy Survive? (11/3-12/15)

Themes for Winter/Spring 2023 term

  • Plastics and the Carbon Age: Environmental and Health Impacts (1/12/22-2/16/22)
  • The Future of Education (2/23-4/6)
  • Human Migration Through the Ages (4/13 - 5/18)

Summer Lecture Series

Part of the Thursday Morning Lecture Series, this three lecture series will be held on select Thursdays in June from 10:00 to 11:30 am. 

The theme for the 2023 Summer Lecture Series is "Historical Architecture/Fresh Ideas".

Dates TBA

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


Lecture Series Packages

There are six lecture series packages:

  • Distinguished Lecture Series Package, September–June
    • 10 lectures for $60, save $40, 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 $190, 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 $220, 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)

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.

Study Groups: Small group learning

From “Caravans, Cultures, and Chinggis Khan Along the Silk Route” to “Computerized Investing: Asset Allocation and Mutual Funds” 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 60 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 nine active SIGs, some renew in September, others in January. Check back for openings.

† 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 Assistant Director Julie Brown by e-mail to

Afternoons with OLLI: Informal learning at friendly gatherings

(On hiatus until January 2023)

“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 afternoon 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.

  • Fees: $10 per event or $35 for a package of four 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.
Journey on the Underground Railroad

Out of Town Trips

OLLI Out of Town will be featuring in-person travel as well as virtual travel this Fall. 

  • Virtual program on select Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
  • $10-$15 per virtual trip or $35 for a package of 3.
  • Check to see if your program is virtual or in-person.

Trip Highlights for Fall 2022

Embracing Our Differences Exhibit Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Tour

September 20

“Embracing Our Differences” is an exhibit of 60 billboard-sized banners with images based on the idea that differences should enrich, not divide. Artists of all ages and diverse backgrounds from around the world submitted their work reflecting this theme.
The pieces that were selected are displayed in Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park and Leslie Science and Nature Center and in Ypsilanti at Riverside Park and Parkridge
Community Center.
The tour will start at Gallup Park, stop for lunch at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, and continue to Riverside Park to view the banners.
Linda Grekin, a member of the Embracing Our Differences Committee and an OLLI member will be our tour guide. Join us as we discuss and reflect on the value and ability
of art to communicate and the relevance of this exhibit in our community.


Cranbrook's Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House

October 14, 2022 | 3:00-4:30 pm | $15 Online

Join Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Curator Kevin Adkisson for a lecture and virtual tour on the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Smith House. Detroit Public Schools teachers Sara and Melvyn Smith completed their Usonian-style home by America’s most famous architect in 1950, and the house and its contents were given to Cranbrook in 2017. The Smith House in Bloomfield Township is an excellent example of Wright’s Usonian ideal, which aimed to build quality houses for the American middle class. Between 1950 and 1984, the Smiths filled their home and garden with art, much of which came from the nearby studios of Cranbrook Academy of Art. Kevin will discuss the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Smiths, and the unique collection of ceramics, textiles, sculptures, and more that make the Smith House such a remarkable place.


A Visit to the Ukrainian American Archives and Museum and “Van Gogh in America” Exhibit at the DIA

October 21, 2022  l   8:30 am - 5:00 pm  l  $137

This dynamic day trip will begin in Hamtramck at the Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church where the Ukrainian American Archives and Museum starts its tours to see the community room where they have Ukrainian photographs and displays. A tour of the church will be included. We will, then, proceed to the Museum itself, whose mission is to preserve Ukrainian cultural and historical artifacts and to educate the public about Ukrainian immigrant contributions to America by maintaining an archives, a library and a museum open to the public. Lunch will take place at the Polonia Restaurant in Hamtramck. “Van Gogh in America” celebrates the DIA’s status as the first public museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Vincent van Gogh, his Self-Portrait (1887). On the 100th anniversary of its acquisition, experience around 70 authentic Van Gogh works from around the world and discover the fascinating story of America’s introduction to this iconic artist in an exhibition only at the DIA. Provision of additional free time while at the DIA will permit participants to view other museum wonders such as the Rivera Court Murals. Note: Guided tours or introduction talks will not be offered. There will be an audio tour provided through an individual’s smartphone.


Lincoln Center, A West Side Story (ONLINE)

November 11, 2022   l   3:00 - 4:30 pm   l   $15

Join us on this Road Scholar virtual travel program to New York City’s famed Lincoln Center. Marked for demolition as a slum which inspired the 1957 play “West Side Story”, scenes for the 1961 movie were filmed on this very site just as the district gave way to a glittering performing arts center and a new high-rise neighborhood. The real story includes ethnic and racial tensions, Urban Renewal, the Cold War, architectural and political rivalries played out as the consensus of the Fifties gives way to the tumult of the Sixties. Let’s explore this dramatic story that brought this iconic but controversial center into being in the middle of the 20th Century…and watch as it is reimagined for the 21st Century. John Kriskiewicz with Explore New York. John is a native New Yorker with a professional degree in architecture from Pratt Institute. He has taught courses focusing on architectural and city planning history at Parsons School of Design, The Cooper Union, Fashion Institute of Technology, Stern College for Women, and Manhattan College. John has designed travel programs and lectures for many of New York City’s institutions and corporations including Road Scholar/Explore New York. He admits to a special affinity for New York’s extensive infrastructure as well as its Mid-Century Modern heritage.


Tour of DIA “Van Gogh in America” Exhibition (ONLINE)

December 9, 2022   l   3:00 - 4:30 pm   l   $10

Join Carlene VanVoorhies, DIA Docent, as she takes us on a virtual tour of some of the 70 authentic Van Gogh works from around the world in the “Van Gogh in America” exhibition. The exhibition celebrates the DIA’s status as the first public museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Vincent van Gogh, his Self-Portrait (1887). On the 100th anniversary of its acquisition, enjoy the fascinating story of America’s introduction to this iconic artist in an exhibition only at the DIA.


A Capitol Day in Lansing

December 14, 2022   l   7:45 am - 5:00 pm   l    $135

NOTE: Be sure to wear a pair of good walking shoes. "Enjoy a luxury motorcoach bus tour from Ann Arbor to Lansing where you will spend the day in our State’s Capitol. Tour the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice and Learning Center and observe oral arguments at the Michigan Supreme Court. After an included lunch, you will conclude the day with a guided tour of the Michigan State Capitol. The total number of registrants for this tour will be 30 based on the maximum number of participants allowed by the Michigan Supreme Court for its tours. To assure a seat on this tour, register early.



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.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2022, 10:30 AM

The Pond Room


COST: $10

The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust is an anthology of essays that delves into the lived experience of sixteen different families grappling with the legacy of this genocide. While there is a vast number of memoirs written by survivors of the Holocaust, there are fewer first-person accounts of the effects of this historical trauma on the second generation, and none in which all the authors are part of a single community. This book provides an intimate glimpse into the challenges and gifts of growing up in the shadow of their inherited trauma.

The authors describe the impact of learning of their parents’ experiences in concentration camps, hiding under false identities or working in forced labor battalions. Each of the sixteen narratives offers its own unique and compelling view of the author’s search to piece together fragments of their parents’ histories, find their own footing in the world and create a life rich with meaning and purpose. Readers will be deeply touched by the reflections of their individual suffering and their parents’ as well as the incredible fortitude and resilience seen across the generations.

This book evolved out of the authors’ work writing original Holocaust remembrance services that described their parents’ incredible journeys of survival and adaptation to life after the war for an Ann Arbor Reform Jewish congregation since 2004. The editors and authors of this book are an intentional community of adult children of Holocaust survivors born throughout North America, Israel, Sweden, Hungary and Switzerland; all who came to reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Kickoffs, Open Houses, Fundraisers, and Tutorials

Stay tuned for information on OLLI's Fall Kickoff!!!

Save the date: September 7, 2022

10:00am - 12:00pm

Towsely Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College


Save the date! Big Hearts for Seniors May 18, 2023!

Visit the Big Hearts for Seniors website for information. For updates leading up to the event, follow us on Facebook!

Big Hearts for Seniors Benefits:

Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels

Housing Bureau for Seniors

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Silver Club Memory Programs

Turner Senior Wellness Program


This category typically includes:

  • Fall Kickoff event(s) held each September;
  • OLLI's Virtual Winter Open House held each January;
  • OLLI Annual Meeting and Election in May
  • Big Hearted Stories: Generations, the Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event
  • Tutorials that provide an introduction to OLLI's programs and services.

View YouTube videos of these Big Hearted Stories events:

OLLI Commons

With OLLI going back to in-person programming in Fall 2022, the Commons will no longer be operating. The Schmoozery will continue to meet through Summer 2022 and will reemerge as a SIG in September, as will Poetry Reading with Ginny Bentz!



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.