Registration open for summer lifelong learning classes, trips

Contact: Jeanne Baron

Cover image, 2017 WMU OLLI courses and trips catalog.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University is offering 23 courses and three trips during its 2017 summer session.

Early bird registration is underway for institute members. Nonmembers may register starting Tuesday, May 23, or become a new member now and take advantage of early bird registration.

The Osher Institute at WMU, or OLLI as it is commonly known, was developed to provide intellectual and cultural learning experiences for mature adults from diverse backgrounds in an informal and stimulating environment. Courses, trips and other activities are developed by institute members with the support of the staff from WMU Extended University Programs. These short-term, noncredit activities are fee based and designed for passionate learners age 50 and over.

Scheduled courses

The summer courses begin Thursday, June 1, and conclude at the end of July. They run for one or more weeks and take place on varying dates at WMU and other sites in the local community. There are no tests or papers to write.

Specific courses being offered include:

  • Fascinating Facts About Birds
  • A Blueprint for Fall Prevention
  • App Safety: Is it Safe to Download?
  • Let's Walk About—Hiking
  • Racial Healing and Transformation

Several new courses are being conducted by area organizations, including three by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum that focus on eclipses, fossils, or historical artifacts and exhibits.

In another class, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library will teach about how discrimination against an African-American football player helped influence President Ford. Meanwhile, the Western Michigan Sustainable Brewing Program will whet inquiring minds, and taste buds, through two West Michigan Beer Tours classes.

Scheduled trips

The Osher Institute's summer trips are all one-day excursions. The dates, destinations and titles are:

  • Tuesday, July 11—South Bend, Indiana; Mansions, Museums and Chocolate: Another Look at South Bend.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 9—Chelsea; One Jiffy-Day in Chelsea Plus the Purple Rose.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22—Marshall; Marshall Michigan ... Magical Discoveries.

In addition, registration has been open since last year for a Sept. 12-15 trip to Springfield, Illinois, that focuses on Abraham Lincoln and is being offered in collaboration with the Michigan Civil War Institute.

Registration will open in August for two other trips scheduled for the fall 2017 semester. Sign-up begins Tuesday, Aug. 1, for an excursion to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize in September and Saturday, Aug. 12, for a trek to St. Joseph for a wine and chocolate tour in October.

Special events

  • Thursday, June 8—OLLI members' tour of Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Food Innovation Center, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Reserve using the summer courses catalog or call (269) 387-4200.
  • Tuesday, July 25—OLLI instructor workshop, 1 to 2:30 p.m. at a location to be announced, for current instructors and those considering becoming an instructor. Register by Thursday, July 20, at (269) 387-4200.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 2—Annual OLLI fall kickoff event, 2 to 4 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, 212 Park St., Kalamazoo. This festive gathering is open to the public and showcases activities that will be offered during the fall semester. Those attending will be able to meet course instructors and other OLLI volunteers, participate in learning activities and enjoy refreshments. Reservations are requested and may be made by calling (269) 387-4200.

For details about Osher Institute offerings and ways to register, visit the winter-spring 2017 catalog online at or call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4200.

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