What's New at OLLI

This page provides information about additions and changes to OLLI's program offerings.

Click on the headings below to expand or hide the details about a program

Two Winter 2021 Brochures are available (New)

Click this link to see OLLI's Winter 2021 Brochure #1 (pdf).

Click this link to see OLLI's Winter 2021 Brochure #2 (pdf).

OLLI @ Home, 1st, 3rd, and sometimes 5th Mondays of each month starting in January

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 olli.info@umich.edu(link sends e-mail). 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
  • A Visit to the UM Peony Garden, Date TBA! Matthaei Botanical Gardens will treat us to a presentation about their outstanding peony garden.

† The January 4th OLLI @ Home event is sponsored by Barbara Hooberman in appreciation for her fellow committee members Susan Weinberg, Carolyn Herman and Laurie Barnett.

See more information about OLLI @ Home in the online Course Catalog

Its Been a (COVID-19) Year, five lectures, free, January 19th to May 18th

New for Winter/Spring 2021

Where Are We and Where Are We Headed?

 Part of the Urgent and Critical Lecture Series.

 Free and open to the public. No registration required. OLLI membership not required.
Third Tuesday each month from January 19th through May 18th, 10:00 to 11:30 am.

This series is co-hosted by OLLI-UM and the UM Turner Senior Wellness Program.

Now that we have all been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year, the basics are familiar to all of us. But challenges continue to develop and many unknowns remain. We are still asking:

  • What are the newest developments in prevention, testing, treatment, and vaccines?
  • How long is this going to last? How are individuals and organizations coping?
  • How do we think about the dual crises of the pandemic and climate change?
  • Anticipating the future, how will our world look different?

In this continuing series of presentations on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will explore the current situation and look into the future. Our expert speakers will add to your knowledge about Covid-19 and inspire many provocative questions.

Zoom information:
Link: https://umich.zoom.us/j/9851607349
Webinar ID: 985 1607 3493
Audio only 1-312-626-6799

See OLLI's online Course Catalog for additional information.

OLLI Out of Town is back with virtual trips, starting January 22nd

Returning with virtual trips for Winter/Spring 2021

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 the 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

See OLLI's online Course Catalog for additional information.

Want to join the OLLI Out of Town Committee?
Please contact Chair Ruth Primas by e-mail to ruthp@umich.edu (link sends e-mail).

Medical Ethics 101, three lecture series, February 3rd, 10th and 17th

New for Winter/Spring 2021

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.

Cost: $10 per lecture or $25 for the series.

  • Lecture #1: (a) History of Clinical Ethics and Ethics; and (b) Epidemics; and Clinical Ethics in the Time of Crisis. February 3, 2021, 10:00 to 11:30 am. Faculty: Christian Vercler, M.D.
  • Lecture #2: (a) Ethics at the End of Life: Principles and Case Discussions; and (b) The Interplay between Medical Ethics and Evolving Medical Science. February 10, 2021, 10:00 to 11:30 am. Faculty: Adam Marks, M.D.
  • Lecture #3: (a) Key Legal Cases in Medical Ethics; and (b) Ethics of Human Research. February 17, 2021, 10:00 to 11:30 am. Faculty: Edward Goldman, J.D.

This lecture series is sponsored by Hillary Murt and Bruce Friedman, honoring the healthcare providers at Michigan Medicine for their bravery and service.

More information is available in OLLI's online Course Catalog.

Torn from the Headlines, next program February 8th and 9th (updated)

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. Our new series — Torn from the Headlines — starts January 11th.

January 11 & 12, 2021: The Role of the Federal Reserve and Financial Deregulation During the Trump Administration: How Will it/Should it Change under the
Biden Administration?

  • January 11, 2021 4-5 pm — Presentation and extended Q & A with Professor Jeremy Kress
  • January 12, 2021 2-3 pm — Facilitated discussion in the OLLI Commons with Karen Bantel, Ph.D., OLLI member and instructor; former U-M Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy. Free and open to the public. Zoom Link to join this programming: https://umich.zoom.us/j/95574902503, Zoom Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503, Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799.

February 8 & 9, 2021: New Muslim Alliances with Israel and their Impact on the Middle East

  • February 8, 2021 4-5 pm — Presentation and extended Q & A with Professor Mark Tessler
  • February 9, 2021 2-3 pm — Facilitated discussion with Karen Bantel, Ph.D., OLLI member and instructor; former U-M Professor of Entrepreneurship and
    Business Strategy. Free and open to the public. Zoom Link to join this programming: https://umich.zoom.us/j/95574902503, Zoom Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503, Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799.

How it works:

  • Each month, first there will be a presentation from an expert on a timely topic from the news, with the opportunity for an extended Q&A.
  • Then, on the day following each presentation, join others in the OLLI Commons to continue the prior day’s discussion. 
  • All sessions will be moderated by OLLI instructor and member Karen Bantel.  Relevant written materials will be provided.
  • Fees: $55 for the series of six presentations or $10 for a single presentation daypass. The next day discussions in the OLLI Commons are free and open to the public.

In general, 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. This means you won’t know the topic or the speaker when you sign up for the series in advance!

This new series is a pilot program of OLLI’s Special Projects Committee.

See more information about Torn from the Headlines in the online Course Catalog.

Brain Aging and What You Can Do About It with Thad Polk, March 4th

New for Winter/Spring 2021

When: March 4th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm
Fee: $10.00

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.

Thad Polk is the Samuel D. Epstein Collegiate Professor of Psychology and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. He received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Computer Science and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Polk’s research uses functional imaging of the human brain to investigate the neural architecture underlying cognition and how that architecture is influenced by age, by experience, and by genetics. He has lectured extensively on topics related to the human brain, including producing four courses for The Great Courses series. He was also named to the Princeton Review list of the best 300 professors in the U.S.

More information is available in OLLI's online Course Catalog

What's New in the OLLI Commons

The Commons is a free virtual zoom space featuring free programming and offers space to OLLI members to sign up for discussion/visiting/happy hours.

Click on the headings below to expand or hide the details about that topic

For added security, all Commons events going forward will be locked ten minutes after they begin, so please arrive promptly!

All of the programs in the OLLI Commons are free and open to the public.

An Inaugural Ball hosted by the Schmoozery in the OLLI Commons, Wednesday, January 20th, 1:00 to 2:00 pm. (New)

Next week, on Wednesday, January 20th, 1-2 pm, the Commons’ Schmoozery will host an online Inaugural Ball.  In lieu of dancing and drinking, we'll—as usual—be schmoozing ...  That is, we'll share things we noticed about the ceremony, reflections about the new administration and about the current political climate as we experience it.  "Do-it-ourselves" commentary!  Wolf Blitzer, eat your heart out!

Join us!  In the Commons at https://umich.zoom.us/j/95574902503
Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 95574902503

Starting December 1st in the Commons, a month-long collaboration among Michigan's OLLIs: Aquinas College, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan, and Western Michigan University.

Arriving December 1st, a month-long collaboration among Michigan's OLLIs: Aquinas College, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan, and Western Michigan University.

Beginning December 1 and throughout the month, the online Commons calendar will feature virtual events hosted by each of the four OLLI organizations in Michigan. OLLI-UM’s recurring online programs and groups will still be there, but many other opportunities let you connect and learn with OLLI members across the state as we move through this unusual, but special December. All events or sessions are free to members of the four OLLIs and their guests. Registration is never requiredjust click and join! Check the online Commons calendar frequently at olli-umich.org/commons-calendar for additions to the list. In the calendar click on an event or session to learn which OLLI is hosting, the presenter, what will be happening and to find the link to log in.

  • UM Museum of Art Virtual Tour, Tuesday, December 29th, 10-11 am in the OLLI Commons, Free and open to the public. 
  • WMU Afternoon Theater, two plays: #1 Housekeeper Wanted and #2 Evacuation, Tuesday, December 29th, 1:00 to 2:30+ pm in the OLLI Commons with talk back afterward. Free and open to the public. Zoom Link to join this programming: https://umich.zoom.us/j/95574902503, Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503. (OLLI-WMU)
  • The Schmoozery: Sharing Stories “in uncertain times” in the OLLI Commons, Wednesday, December 30th, 1 to 2 pm. Free and open to the public.

Zoom information:

For all OLLI Commons events:

Link: https://umich.zoom.us/j/95574902503
Meeting ID: 955 7490 2503
Audio only dial: 1-312-626-6799

Have a question or need more information, contact an OLLI Director:


Resources from OLLI Programs

Click on one of the headings below to expand or hide the details about that topic

Book Beat Holiday Book Suggestions from our community partner, Nicolas Books, December 1, 2020

Many thanks to Jack Gillard and Meagen Kucaj for this special OLLI Holiday Edition of Book Beat on Tuesday, December 1st. The following are some of the titles that were mentioned. Remember you can order books from Nicolas for mail order, for curbside pickup, or grab your mask and stroll around the store. They also have gift cards, Christmas cards, toys and games. If you wish to thank Nicolas for the Book Beat presentation, you could add that in the Special Instructions box at the end of your order.

Books for Adults
  • Bacon, John U. The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism.
  • Behee, John. Coach Yost: Michigan's Tradition Maker.
  • Fisher, Dale. Washtenaw County: Visions of the Eagle.
  • Garten, Ina. Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Book.
  • Lopez, William D. Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid
  • Harvey, Miles. The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch.
  • Headley Maria Dahvana. Beowulf: A New Translation.
  • Jemisin, N.K. The City We Became.
  • Moreno-Garcia, Sylvia.  Mexican Gothic.
  • Jimenez, Simon. The Vanished Birds: A Novel.
  • Larson, Katherine. Ann Arbor Observed: The Stories Behind the Ann Arbor Observer.
  • le Carré, John. Agent Running in the Field.
  • Lopez, William D. Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid.
  • Meacham, John. His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope.
  • Obama, Barack. A Promised Land; Speeches.
  • Perry, Anne. A Christmas Resolution: Christmas Novella.
  • Rather, Dan. What Unites Us.
  • Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice.
  • St. John Mandel, Emily. The Glass Hotel.
  • Willis, Connie. The Doomsday Book: A Novel; A Lot Like Christmas--Stories.
  • Zinn, David. Temporary Preserves; Underfoot Menagerie; Street Art Calendar 2021.
Books for Children
  • Bearn, Emily. Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall.
  • Becker, Bonny. A Christmas for Bear.
  • Brett, Jan. Cozy.
  • Brallier, Max. Galactic Hot Dogs Series; Last Kids on Earth Series.
  • Cameron, Bruce. A Dog's Perfect Christmas.
  • D’Aulaires.Ingri. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.
  • Favilli, Elena. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World.
  • Highlight Magazine: The Highlights Book of Things to Do: Discover, Explore, Create, and Do Great Things.
  • Hinds, Gareth. The Illiad: The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel.
  • Jansson, Tove. The Moomins.
  • Kraegel, Kenneth. Wild Honey from the Moon.
  • Milford, Kate. The Greenglass House.
  • Paulson, Gary. Hatchet.
  • Rey, H.A.  Curious George Book of Sight Words.
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: MinaLima Edition.
  • Timberlake, Amy.  Skunk and Badger.
  • Todd Parr. The Joyful Book.

Pandemic Update: Vaccines, Testing, and Treatments, November 17, 2020

Information shared in conjunction with the Urgent and Critical Lecture Series lecture, Pandemic Update: Vaccines, Testing, and Treatments, November 17, 2020.

Shared by Raymond Yung, Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Director of the Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology.

Vaccine Development

I hope this message finds you safe and well. You may have heard a lot recently about the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. There are actually several different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines that are being developed. The University of Michigan is now involved in testing two of these candidate vaccines and we wanted to give you some general information about how these vaccines are developed and tested. We have also included two links below that explain the trials and the different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.

From Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines in the United States, January 2018:

Vaccine development begins in the laboratory before any tests in animals or humans are done. If laboratory tests show that a vaccine has potential, it is usually tested in animals. If a vaccine is safe in animals, and studies suggest that it will be safe in people, clinical trials with volunteers are next.

Clinical Trials

Typically, there are three phases of clinical trials. Vaccines that are being developed for children are first tested in adults. FDA sets guidelines for the three phases of clinical trials to ensure the safety of the volunteers.

Phase 1 clinical trials focus on safety and include 20–100 healthy volunteers. In Phase 1, scientists begin to learn how the size of the dose may be related to side effects. If possible at this early stage, scientists also try to learn how effective the vaccine may be.

If no serious side effects are found in Phase 1, next is Phase 2, which involves several hundred volunteers. This phase includes studies that may provide additional information on common short-term side effects and how the size of the dose relates to immune response.

In Phase 3 studies, hundreds or thousands of volunteers participate. Vaccinated people are compared with people who have received a placebo or another vaccine so researchers can learn more about the test vaccine’s safety and effectiveness and identify common side effects.

Clinical trials are conducted according to plans that FDA reviews to ensure the highest scientific and ethical standards. The results of the clinical trials are a part of FDA’s evaluation to assess the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine. In addition to evaluating the results of the clinical trials, FDA scientists and medical professionals carefully evaluate a wide range of information including results of studies on the vaccine’s physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as how it is manufactured, to ensure that it can be made consistently safe, pure, and potent.

Learn More

To learn more about COVID vaccine trials at Michigan Medicine, see:

To learn more details about the different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines in development, see:

If you would like to learn more about the participation of older adults in the vaccine trials at the University of Michigan, please send an email to agingresearch@umich.edu.


Community Online Learning Opportunities

A Monumental and Rapturous New Anthology of Black American Poetry

New York Times article by Parul Sehgal

The new Library of America anthology “African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song,” edited by Kevin Young, is a monumental tribute to that persistence, from the colonial period to the present. It features poems on injustice, harassment, hunger — protests on the page — but also rapturous odes to music and food, to gawking at beautiful strangers, to boredom and birth pains and menopause, and, yes, to moon, elms and lilacs, too.

Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life

A New York Times Magazine article by David Marchese, Photo illustration by Bráulio Amado.


The immensity of Yo-Yo Ma’s talent is such that he would be globally admired if all he ever did was appear onstage or in a recording studio and then vanish after the last notes faded from his cello. That Ma has instead used his gifts in the service of spreading humanistic values — via cross-cultural musical collaboration, civic engagement and huge amounts of heart — means that his connection with the public goes far deeper than mere admiration.

On Dec. 11, Ma will release “Songs of Comfort and Hope,” an album recorded with the pianist Kathryn Stott. “People need each other for support beyond the immediate staples of life,” Ma says. “They need music.”

Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

Vic Strecher (MPH ’80, PhD ’83 ) is a professor of health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. For the last decade, he has been teaching and researching the significance of purpose and how people can find it in their lives.

OLLI Art Show

The link below is for the OLLI Art Show. You can navigate the Art Show by double-clicking on a specific image. You can also change how the images are displayed by clicking on the button that looks like four tiles in the upper right of your screen. Also, keep in mind there are three pages worth of beautiful art! 

Click here to view the complete Art Show by OLLI's Monday Painters study group participates.

Peaceful Waters by Lind Babcock

OLLI Out of Town Slideshow

 Click here to view the OLLI Out of Town slideshow.

Journey on the Underground Railroad