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All Life is Learning - February 2022

Director's Note

Director's Note

For the love of OLLI

There are just a couple of things I would like to share. First, thank you! Yesterday was the last day of our OLLI Donor Match Challenge, and although it is too soon to provide a concrete update with how well we have done, I am proud to inform you that many OLLI members participated in the Donor Match. I am sure our donor will be elated to know that their gift spurred others to give in support of our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University! More information will be shared once we have a final report.

Secondly, for those members who renewed their memberships or became new members during this membership year, you will be entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to “Waitress the Musical.” There is still time to renew your membership before the raffle! Names will be drawn on February 7 and winners will be notified later that week. The musical will be on February 22 at 7:30 p.m. Keep your fingers crossed – you might just be the lucky winner!

Finally, please share your love of OLLI with your friends and family. Without our OLLI members, we would have no OLLI. You may ask, how can I help promote OLLI and increase membership? Here are some suggestions:

  • Share your monthly newsletter with others so they know about OLLI. There is no cost, just forward the email to your friends and family each month.
  • Share information about all the wonderful courses and events you’ve experienced.
  • Invite others to become engaged by volunteering, serving on an OLLI committee, or becoming an OLLI instructor.

Our goal is to increase our membership by 30% between now and June 30. Will you help us accomplish this goal?

Thanks for sharing your love with OLLI.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D.
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU


Courses beginning in February with openings still available are as follows:

  • Revealing the Secrets of Fort St. Joseph – Michael Nassaney, Wed. 2/2, 2 to 4 p.m., online via Webex
  • Film and Genre: Films Noir and Westerns in History – Edwin Martini, Wed. 2/2, 2/9, 2/16 and 2/23, 4 to 7 p.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1010
  • Where the Streets Have Their Name: Origins of Street Names in Kalamazoo – Thomas Dietz, Fri. 2/4, 9 to 11 a.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1035
  • Smart Home Technology – Bryon Glock, Fri. 2/4, 2/11 and 2/18, 1 to 3 p.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1057
  • Coach Em Way Up- Lessons for Leadership and Coaching the John Wooden Way – Lynn Guerin, Tues. 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1, 3/8 and 3/15, 1 to 3 p.m., online via Webex
  • A Battle Over Facts vs. Truth – D. Terry Williams, Thurs. 2/10 and 2/24 2/17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Walden Woods, Classroom
  • Becoming Social Savvy – Amanda Geer, Thurs. 2/10 and 2/17, 3 to 5 p.m., online via Webex
  • Beginning Mah Jongg – Jane Duran, Mon. 2/14 and 2/21, Wed. 2/16 and 2/23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oakland Hills Club House, Oakland Drive, Portage, 49024
  • Exercise is Medicine – Tyler Norman, Tues. 2/15 and 2/22, 1 to 3 p.m. West Hills Athletic Club, 2001 S. 11th St, 49009
  • Beginning Pysanky – Lorraine Fedorchak-Kraker, Sat. 2/26, noon to 3 p.m., Design Street Art School, 115 W Bridge St, Plainwell, 49080
  • The History and The Literature: Hamnet – Diane and Stanley Henderson, Mon. 2/28, 1 to 3 p.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1035

Register on the website or by phone at (269) 387-4157.


Another Fun Day in Chelsea

 Date: Wednesday, June 8       Time: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.       Location: Purple Rose Theater, Chelsea, Michigan

Calling all "OLLI-ers" to join us on a long awaited, much anticipated trip on June 8, 2022! We will be off to Chelsea to visit the Purple Rose Theatre, one of our favorite fun-filled destinations. There, we will watch the world premiere of David MacGregor's "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Ghost Machine."

  • June 8, 2022 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Picture it: London, November 1905. England and the world are changing. Every day brings new tensions in Europe as WWI and its horrors are fast approaching. New technologies are changing the landscape and into the rooms of Sherlock Holmes come Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. They bring new inventions that will alter the course of human history...only both inventions have gone missing. Can Mr. Holmes somehow unravel the mystery? You want to find out, of course, if he survives the greatest personal loss of his career.

As in prior theatre trips there will be a lovely lunch included. It will be provided at the Village Conference Center, part of the Comfort Inn. Be sure to indicate when you register if you require a vegetarian lunch. We will depart Portage at 10 a.m. and return to Portage around 7 p.m. 

At the time trip arrangements were made, the Purple Rose required all members of the audience to be fully vaccinated and wear a mask throughout the performance. Should this requirement change prior to June 2022, you will be notified. Don’t miss being on board for the first OLLI trip in over two years.  Our trips are now with AAA Nebraska so please note the new address, 815 N 98th St, Omaha NE 68114.

To sign up:

Starting February 2, 2022: call AAA Nebraska at 1 (800) 222-6327 - ask for Dave or Chellie.

  • $140 for members

  • $155 for non-members

  • April 29 registration deadline

  • 39 capacity limit

Easy – This type of trip involves minimal walking, such as a theatre trip, requiring very short walking distances and boarding/exiting the bus a few times.


What? February 1, 2022…already?

The Events Committee has been brainstorming to organize more fun events for YOU in the near future. Watch this space for upcoming events and activities!

We hope you had a chance to tune into the “January Curriculum Showcase” on January 12 to meet instructors and learn about up upcoming courses. We had a very high number of instructors attend and nearly every course was represented. OLLI appreciates our instructors volunteering to teach our courses and taking time out from their schedules to give a synopsis at the Showcase.

If you have ideas for events or want to sit in on a virtual meeting, contact Sharon Wade or Joey Miller


Membership and Marketing

What a glorious array of courses OLLI is offering for the winter/spring semester! Our members asked for both in person and virtual courses, both of which are represented. Let’s share the excellence of OLLI with others as much as we can this semester – be sure to invite a friend to participate with you.

Attending an in-person course means that safety protocols that WMU has in place regarding COVID-19 must be followed. These protocols can change over time and OLLI will let us know what is in place for the timeframe of the courses we attend.

Lifelong learners, your OLLI family is looking forward to engaging with you in 2022!


Knee Pain and Osteoarthritis 

Do you or someone you know suffer from knee pain or knee osteoarthritis? Adults 45 or older are invited to participate in a study called “The Effects of Home Use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation on People with Knee Osteoarthritis and Chronic Knee Pain.”

The study will consist of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound imaging of the knee to classify the knee OA and any swelling. An active or placebo TENS will be worn at home. A baseline and three follow-up visits over a month will follow involving functional tests, MSK US imaging and reading of a pedometer you will use at home.

If you are interested and/or have more questions, please call Sarah Anderson at (269) 387-8987 or email A $100 gift card will be given for participation!

Daryl Lawson, PT, DSc-PI
Adriana M. Degani, Ph.D.-Co-PI
Western Michigan University Department of Physical Therapy

Wellness Minute

Tyler Norman, Ph.D.
Manager of Corporate Outreach
ACSM Exercise Physiologist
NCFI Corporate Fitness Specialist
West Hills Athletic Club, WMU

Milo of Croton: Mythology’s original weightlifter and the important lesson he taught us

Milo of Croton (southern Italy) was a Greek wrestler believed to be the strongest person who has ever lived on Earth. Approximately 2,500 years ago, Milo discovered an abandoned newborn calf near his home and decided to take the calf home to raise. To train for wrestling, he decided to place the calf on his shoulders and walk one time around his property. He did this every day and according to the myth, four years later he was carrying a full-grown, 2,000 lb. bull on his shoulders. Considering the current world record for squat is approximately 1,200 lbs., you can deduce for yourself the likelihood of the myth being an exaggeration.

Regardless of the exaggeration, Milo taught us some valuable lessons that are as relevant and applicable today as ever. First, progression in exercise is important. He started with a lighter load and progressively increased his load over time, giving his body a chance to adapt to the progressively increasing load. We have discussed how the body responds to this type of stress, which is to increase muscle mass and bone density (aka muscle adaptation). Secondly, Milo taught us the value and importance of perseverance in exercise. Just like any discipline, exercise requires continuity to produce optimum results. When you combine the progression aspect with the perseverance aspect, you get the “Progressive Overload Principle.”

The Progressive Overload Principle is a very important training principle that is used by strength coaches, personal trainers, athletes, and millions of fitness enthusiasts around the world. In its simplest form, this principle describes how a gradual increase of weight, frequency, and volume in strength training challenges the musculoskeletal system to adapt. As previously mentioned, the way it adapts is by getting stronger, and data shows us that this phenomenon can occur at ANY age. Here is an example published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine if you are a data nerd like me ( The prime takeaway in my opinion is that “two decades of age-associated loss of strength and muscle-mass can be regained in two months of resistance training.”

I decided to share the story of Milo to illustrate the importance of weightlifting for vitality. As we embark on the new year, I challenge OLLI members and friends to do so with renewed motivation to be STRONG and to live with VITALITY! Immunity health is believed by industry professionals like myself to be the top fitness trend of 2022 for obvious reasons. The best first step in doing so is to start an exercise program or progress your current one, like Milo. I will conclude by adding that the myth of Milo also included the consumption of 20 lbs. of red meat, plus 20 lbs. of bread, plus 10 liters of wine, not per month, but per day! For the record, I do not recommend that.

P.S. Check out my “Exercise is Medicine” class offered through OLLI in February!

Now You Know

In February, many celebrate Valentine’s Day as the day of love. This is a nationally celebrated holiday, but that is not the only holiday celebrated this month. February is also known as Black History Month. This is a time to celebrate and recognize the people who have helped advance our society even through the worst times in history. Many African Americans contributed to advancing modern technology as well as advocated for the human rights of all people. This month is a good time to learn about Black advocates that are not usually talked about, such as Harry Belafonte, Ruby Bridges, and Jimmie Lee Jackson, for starters. One site to find more information on trailblazers like these is Civil Rights Activists - List & Famous Activists - Biography.

Also consider taking this opportunity to learn about Dr. Merze Tate and WMU's recent initiative to name an academic college in her honor (Merze Tate College).

What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

The program was initiated under the auspices of the WMU Emeriti Council and WMUx. OLLI offers intellectually lively and culturally appealing learning experiences. We accomplish this by focusing on intellectual stimulation, personal growth, social engagement and enrichment.  Read more


What do we do?

We offer short courses for one to four weeks. Sessions are usually two hours long. Travel programs are also a part of our offerings. There are no tests and no required homework, just exploring lots of interesting topics.

In the near future we will offer courses in different formats -- noon hour discussions, several sessions in one week, and more evening courses. OLLI courses and activities are developed and produced by its members with the support of the staff of WMUx.

We need your ideas for course topics and instructors. Let us know your suggestions. Call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157 or send an email. The curriculum committee will review all suggestions.