All Life is Learning - July 2022

Director's Note

Director's Note

Dear Joyce,

Mere words cannot totally convey how personally thankful I am to have worked with you during the past three years and during the pandemic, no less. Joyce, I know I speak for the entire OLLI membership, which includes members and all volunteers from across the years, in extending a heartfelt thank you for your tireless dedication, hard work, and never-ending commitment to our OLLI. It has been said by Steve Thaxton, from the OLLI National Resource Center, that “Joyce will be a hard act to follow” – and truer words have never been spoken.

Joyce, thank you for helping to keep me organized; for being so member focused and spending the time to make sure their needs have been met; for your support and assistance to the OLLI committees and volunteers; for the constant reminders about what works best for serving our members; for multitasking in ways that highlight your superpowers; for the fun conversations; and the inside joke about the devil and the angel.

Joyce, thank you for being you. No doubt, you will be missed for your gifts and talents that OLLI has benefitted from over the years, but most importantly, you will be missed for who you are, and the humanity you brought to the position to serve our members with care and unending support.

I know you do not like the attention, but bear with us while we applaud you and wish you the absolute best as you pursue your personal journey and all that will accompany the next chapter of your life in retirement.

Thank you, Mrs. Joyce Dekau!

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


July courses with openings still available: 

  • Downtown Kalamazoo: This and That – Lynn Houghton, Thurs. 7/7, 7/14 and 7/21, 10 a.m. to noon, Bronson Park, Rotary Stage
  • Fossils and Dinosaurs – Peter Voice and Robb Gillespie, Mon. 7/11, 10 a.m. to noon, Rood Hall, Room #2271
  • Walkable Neighborhoods: Why They Are Important – Gregory A. Moorhead, Mon. 7/11, 7/18, 7/25, 8/1 and 8/8, 6 to 7:30 p.m. EST, online via Webex
  • WMU and the History of the Asylum Lake Preserve's "Colony for the Insane" – Robert Roschmann MD, Thurs. 7/14 and 7/21, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1024
  • Writing our Obituaries Across the Lifespan – Susan L. Caulfield, Thurs. 7/14 and 7/21, 1 to 3 p.m., Friendship Village, Terrace Activities Room
  • The History and the Literature: Matrix – Diane and Stanley Henderson, Wed. 7/20, 1 to 3 p.m., Friendship Village, Village Clubhouse Keystone


A Taste of OLLI

A Taste of OLLI 2022 was informative and fun for the 150+ people in attendance! Those who attended enjoyed a lively presentation from Amanda Rhodes, Associate Director, National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes as our guest speaker.  

Taste of OLLI participants also:

  • Met fall instructors and learned about their courses 
  • Attended mini breakout sessions or “tastes” of courses lead by our OLLI instructors 
  • Learned about OLLI committees and volunteer opportunities 
  • Socialized with old friends and met new ones 
  • Donated to Kalamazoo Literacy Council, one of OLLI’s community outreach partners (

Also, a special thank you to Humana for being our premier sponsor of the Taste of OLLI and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation for being the major sponsor. Additionally, thank you to the organizations who donated door prizes: Bob’s Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation Inc., Celebration Cinema, Osher Lifelong Learning National Resource Center, Riverstreet Flowerland, StoryPoint Senior Living, and Western Michigan University’s Alumni Association and Department of Theater.

The Events Committee looks forward to making this a bigger and better annual event! 

Haenicke Institute for Global Education Opportunities

Introducing Chinese Opera from the Perspective of Visual Art
Free Online Lecture 
Registration Link:    Flyer

Beijing Opera is not only a stage art, but also a visual art enjoyed from various perspectives. Visual elements such as costumes, facial make-up, and action forms contributed to the core of Beijing Opera. When new art communication technology is embedded into Beijing Opera, an unprecedented experience can be delivered.

This presentation will introduce Beijing Opera from the perspective of visual art and demonstrate how Beijing Opera communicates through new media technology. Join us for a free online public lecture, “Introducing Chinese Opera from the Perspective of Visual Art” on July 14th at 4:00 PM by Dr. Xiaoning Wang, visiting scholar at the Center of Theater Arts Collaboration, Binghamton University, New York.

  • July 14, 2022 4 PM EDT

Tour of the Frederick Meijer Gardens and the Yinka Shonibare Exhibit
Field Trip and Art Exhibit
Registration Link:    Flyer

On July 27th, starting at 10:00 AM, we will tour Frederick Meijer Gardens, including the beloved Japanese garden, and visit the Yinka Shonibare Exhibit with Dr. Mary-Louise Totton, Associate Professor of Art History at WMU. An entrance fee of $12.50 (early registration) or $18 (late registration) will be charged by Frederick Meijer Garden; "Museum for All" or EBT/WIC cardholders can get in for $2. Lunch will not be provided.

  • July 27, 2022 10 AM EDT

Going Back to College

OLLI Partners with Philosophy Faculty

During Western’s spring 2022 semester, David Paul, chair of the Philosophy department, had the brilliant idea to invite OLLI members to join his Existentialist Philosophies course. The feedback from everyone involved (WMU students, OLLI members, and graduate students) was that they enjoyed the experience. Thanks to Dave for helping to make this happen, and to our OLLI members and WMU students for being open to the idea of our OLLI members going back to college to share and learn from one another. 




Mathias Alten and Frank Lloyd Wright

Spend the day exploring some unique examples of art and design located directly up the highway in Grand Rapids! We will be treated to a private, docent-led tour of the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery at the downtown campus of GVSU. There, we will explore the paintings of Michigan artist Mathias Alten, often referred to as the “Dean of Michigan painters.”

  • September 14, 2022

The Gordon Gallery is home to dozens of the over 3,800 paintings Alten created documenting the life, times, and landscapes throughout the turn of the century before his death in 1938. He always returned to Michigan to capture our state’s beauty – before the digital photographic world prevailed! The Gordon Gallery is a true gem, and these works offer a unique historic window into the past. We will also view the works of five other Michigan artists who had associations with Alten or connections to Grand Rapids. Lunch will be provided in the President’s Dining Room on GVSU’s campus.

After lunch, we’ll venture to the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood to tour an excellent example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture, the Meyer May House, which was Wright’s first major commission in Michigan. Mr. May was a prominent Grand Rapids clothier, and the house was commissioned in 1908. Fortunately, the preservation of this Michigan Prairie-style masterpiece was adopted by the Steelcase International furniture company in 1985.

A brief history and details about the restoration project are summarized in a documentary movie, then we will be ushered into one of the finest examples of Wright’s work, including over 100 windows and Arts and Crafts style furnishings. We are bound to be transfixed by the ingenuity and creativity of Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright as our docent explains the exact theories and logic of this architectural jewel.

Join us as we all discover yet another example of special treasures right on our doorstep. Bring a friend, sit back, relax and have a great day with OLLI travel!

Registration begins June 20. To register, call AAA Nebraska directly at (402) 390-1000, press 1 from the menu and enter 203 for Dave or 204 for Michelle. The mailing address for AAA Nebraska is 815 N 98th St, Omaha NE 68114.

  • $131 for members

  • $146 for non-members

  • August 10 registration deadline

  • 25 capacity limit

Moderate – This type of trip involves moderate walking, and some stairs as may be experienced touring museums and historical buildings. Trips might include walking a mile in addition to touring venues. Multiple boarding/exiting the bus may be required.

Membership and Marketing


OLLI volunteers had fun providing information to hundreds of people
at the June 4 Kalamazoo Farmers Market.

Dues Update 

Dear OLLI Family,

As our 2022 Fiscal Year comes to an end, we want to thank our members for believing in OLLI!  You make OLLI tick through your involvement in volunteering on committees and at special events, taking trips and courses, and suggesting new topics and instructors. 

When WMU became part of the nationwide Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes and qualified for a $1 million endowment gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation, we committed to maintaining membership above the 500-minimum required and to working toward financial sustainability. We are slowly regaining members after the pandemic, and our development committee has been busy with fundraising efforts. 

But we need to do more. After careful research and much discussion, the Executive Committee and Advisory Board voted to increase membership dues to $50 per year, beginning September 1, 2022. The $35 dues rate has been the same since 2011! Course fees will remain at $10 per session for members and $20 for non-members. 

The dues increase doesn’t take effect until September 1, so we encourage you to join OLLI for 2022-23 at the current price of $35! Fall course registration starts August 9th. Don’t hesitate to sign up early!

Our members tell us that OLLI’s quality courses, events and trips make a positive impact on their lives and say that OLLI is an excellent value for both individuals and the community. With your help, we will maintain these high standards. 

We look forward to your participation in OLLI for many years to come.


Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Director           

Michael Evans, Advisory Board Chair                    

Gillian Stoltman, Advisory Board Co-Chair                                  

Wellness Moment

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

Platinum Man Transformation 

Whenever I travel, I like to find the local gym or health club to grab a workout. Three years ago, I was visiting my mom in Punta Gorda when I met a guy that was a Kalamazoo native named Bob Callendar. I must have been wearing some WMU attire that prompted him to strike up the conversation. He told me that prior to retirement he had owned some restaurants in Kalamazoo, and it turns out I happen to know the couple that bought them from him – small world! 

Last April I went back to the same gym and about fell over when I saw Bob. He had transformed himself. I was impressed with his improved overall muscularity, muscular symmetry, and the v-taper from his shoulders to his waist. He was deadlifting 275 lbs. at the time I bumped into him and handling it like it was a feather. Bob has not only prolonged his functional life, but he has also dramatically reduced his risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, hypocholesteremia, osteoporosis, and many forms of cancer to name a very few. When I asked him what he had done to achieve this new-found fitness, I already knew what the answer was going to be – STRENGTH TRAINING – powerlifting, in particular. He went on to describe how he had gotten some apparently good advice from a local professional bodybuilder, Aaron Reed, and never looked back. 


  Bob is a great example of evidence to support my broken record claim that strength    training has a cascading effect on vitality and longevity. As mentioned in previous submissions, muscle equals metabolism. Muscles are the one substance in our bodies that use calories to do work. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. In addition, it is worth mentioning, that “two decades of age-associated muscle loss (Sarcopenia) can be regained in two months of resistance training.” (

The point is that it is never too late. Energy, balance, stamina, functional capacity, sleep quality, prevention of countless chronic diseases, and self-esteem are just a few of the countless aspects of health that are positively affected by strength training. I now refer to Bob as Platinum Man because of his superior level of strength and his profound transformation at the age of 75! Final note – Bob has decided to do some competitive powerlifting and based on what I have seen, he will be turning some heads in that arena. Thanks for the motivation, Platinum Man Bob!!

Now You Know

Happy 4th of July OLLI members! 

This month will be focused on other cultures and beliefs. Keti Koti is a new tradition for many of us to hear about. Keto Koti marks freedom for the Surinamese from slavery since 1863. They commemorate the people and their culture through food, music, and dance. This incredible festival is celebrated everywhere, but Amsterdam has the largest celebration in the entire world. To learn more about this beautiful culture, please visit:

Buddhist Lent is also a practice that may be new to many of you. Buddhist Lent is a 3-month cycle. Usually, there are heavy rains during this period, during which monks and priests meditate and sleep in a temple while rarely going out during the day. The locals, such as farmers, spend time giving up things like smoking, drinking, meat, etc., and spend more time giving alms and visiting temples. To learn more about this spiritual practice please visit:


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.