Sunrise through the trees at East Campus

All Life is Learning - November 2022

Director's Note

Director's Note

Without OLLI volunteers, we could not do the many things we do or provide the types of programming we provide, so I want to say thank you to all of our OLLI volunteers! Below are some of the pictures from the OLLI Volunteer Ice Cream Social in September, where we extended our heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated volunteers!       



As we move into the season of gratitude, I want to take a moment to say how deeply thankful and appreciative we are of each and every OLLI member. 

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!


Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D.

Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU


Still Time to Register for Fall Courses

The fall course schedule is available for viewing on our website now! Registering online is the quickest way to secure your spot for the courses you want to take. If you need assistance when registering online, email us at or call (269) 387-4157. Please leave a voicemail if we cannot answer – we will see it in our email. There is still time to register for November courses - visit the website for dates and times of the November courses listed below.

  • A Conversation with Roger Sherman – Patriot Extraordinaire
  • The Sense of Aging – Empathy Dining Experience, Section 3
  • Covid – 19 Where are we in 2022?
  • The Great Pianists-Composers and Their Music
  • MORE Iconic Photographs and the Rest of the Story
  • My Journey: My Life and Unique Experiences in the Music and Publishing Industries, 1956-2022
  • Five Wishes

OLLI Michigan Collaborative

Don’t forget to sign up for the November OLLI Michigan Collaborative! Kalamazoo’s own Caldin Gill and Bertha Barbee, who are members of the Motown Velvelettes, will present on Wednesday, November 9 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. This special event is free for OLLI members! Once you have registered for the course, we will send a link to the meeting a few days before the presentation


  • November 16 2 - 4 p.m.

OLLI Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting is coming up on November 16!  It will be held at the Fetzer Center from 2 to 4 p.m. We'll begin with a short business meeting to hear the State of our OLLI report by our Director and elect our advisory board members. 

We are pleased to share that Dr. Janet Hahn will be this year’s keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting. Dr. Hahn is a faculty member in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs at Western Michigan University, and she is also the director of the Healthcare Services and Sciences Program and the Long-Term Care Administration Minor. Dr. Hahn has been an ex-officio member of the OLLI Advisory Board since 2011.

That’s not all – we will have social time, committee tables, refreshments, and musical entertainment. Of course, you need to register for this event by November 2. We look forward to seeing you there! 

January Thaw 2023 is right around the corner. Save your books…our extremely popular book exchange will be back after a two-year absence! Keep an eye out for more details in the December newsletter. 

Membership & Marketing

Calling all walking enthusiasts! Join your fellow OLLI members to take part in Kalamazoo’s annual Holiday Parade on the morning of Saturday, November 19. We’ll have our own decorated car toward the front of the parade near WMU’s Marching Band and Cheer Team!  Our theme is “Osher Lifelong Learning at WMU – A Golden Opportunity.” Please help us reach those older adults enjoying the parade by walking alongside the car (about 1 mile) and handing out information about our wonderful organization. Call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157 to sign up or learn more.


PICKLE WHAT? A Playwright’s View on a New Sport

 Date: Thursday, December 8       Location: Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, MI

There is this new sport which is a cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong. It requires NO natural athleticism and it’s best played with a cocktail on the sidelines. 

In this wild new comedy play, musician, actor and playwright Jeff Daniels shows and tells us about America’s fastest-growing sport – Pickleball! Mr. Daniels says that this sport is like half-court basketball for seniors. In "Pickleball," four below average players must overcome their own limitations in order to achieve greatness in a game that has nothing to do with pickles!

  • December 8, 2022

Following the 90-minute play (no intermission), we will be off to dine at the Comfort Inn Conference Center located a short distance away. What better way to start your holiday preparations than with plenty of laughter enjoying this latest Jeff Daniels’ comedy? Sign up now and bring your friends. This could even be a fun Christmas gift for those friends who are hard to buy for! 

Registration for trips is through AAA and not through the OLLI at WMU office. 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. Registration deadline is November 10.

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.


More Travel News

Your OLLI Travel Committee is delighted to report an enthusiastic turnout for our first 2022 trips. It has now been confirmed that our membership is excited to travel again! The Travel Committee is both grateful and ecstatic to welcome back our faithful travelers and to also meet our many new OLLI members. 

We need to share a few thoughts with you, however, regarding the challenges facing us in this post-pandemic world. Many restrictions regarding proof of vaccination and mask wearing have been lifted at this time. However, the pandemic has left some scars which impact pricing, venue availability and transportation costs. 

The biggest change is the cost of transportation. The bus cost has increased more than 50% and is continuing to edge up. Many venues have reduced hours of operation, increased prices and have fewer guides or docents to lead our groups. Restaurants also have reduced hours, increased prices and have severe staffing shortages. Many are now closed for the afternoon lunchtime hours and have cut back on the number of days they are open for any meals. We are committed to offering our travelers a worry-free day with a high level of full service. Please know that we have not changed our goals; they are just more challenging to achieve now. We are dedicated and resilient!   

The OLLI Travel Committee is working diligently to continue offering the unique, fun and educational trips you have so generously supported. We feel that we have lost valuable time to explore and learn through our OLLI travel opportunities, and we are sad about these post-pandemic challenges which have resulted in increased costs outside of our control. We do pledge that we are working daily to identify and plan trips worthy of your time and hard-earned money. The 2023 travel schedule is in the works so stay tuned for some interesting travel opportunities next year!

We are excited to offer an upcoming trip to attend the world premiere of a new Jeff Daniels play, which will welcome the 32nd season of the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, MI. The play is titled “Pickleball,” and it will surely be a comedy/drama worth seeing from the award-winning actor/playwright/founder of the Purple Rose. We were able to reserve some tickets for a December date so you can plan for a holiday treat! Watch the newsletter and website for sign-up details. These trips do fill up quickly so don’t delay! 

A most sincere thank you from the Travel committee for your continued support of the OLLI Travel Program.

Wellness Moment

Secrets of Vitality Series

Vitality has been a common theme in my OLLI newsletter submissions, and recently it occurred to me that it would be interesting to get different perspectives on living with vitality. This month’s submission begins a series of profiles uncovering the secrets of many retiree-aged individuals that seem to have found the fountain of youth.

Introducing Bev Clarke, age 73. A member of West Hills for six years, Bev has impressed me time after time with her feats of fitness, strength, and ENERGY.  Sometimes she even has too much energy to contain and feels the need to let it out by doing the Tango or a Salsa dance in-between exercises. Bev is a walking advertisement for vitality! 

Kerry (the workout partner), Bev, and
Chanda (the trainer)

Naturally, I asked Bev to share her secrets, and here are the key takeaways:

“Nutrition is one of the most important aspects,” she says. Bev describes growing up in Jamaica, where the food they eat is generally harvested that day. They would eat fish that was caught directly from the ocean and pick fruits and vegetables off the vine in their gardens. Bev has eight older siblings, the oldest of which is 97, and they are all still alive and kicking – which she attributes to the healthy eating habits her family instilled in her in Jamaica.  

When she came to the U.S., it was difficult to continue those habits, but she made the effort. Bev avoids red meat, will have chicken on occasion, and VERY rarely eats in restaurants. She likes to make fresh juice with a juicer 4 or 5 days per week. Her favorite recipe is a simple salad made of three carrots, one small beet, one granny smith apple, and a small piece of ginger. “The way you eat and physical activity will keep you alive or destroy you,” warns Bev.

Bev also says that balance in her workouts is paramount. She started doing Yoga in 1973, way before it was as popular as it is today. That paired nicely with her dance background and got her hooked on fitness. Now, Bev likes to experiment with all sorts of types of exercise. 

Bev and her workout partner Kerry
pushing 100 lbs. on the prowler!

Bev works with a trainer twice per week for strength training, and also likes Pilates and stretching. Maintaining her flexibility is important to her, and she finds stretching in the morning invigorating. Additionally, she tells us that keeping your sense of humor, getting involved in social communities, and keeping your brain sharp are important aspects of living with vitality and living longer.

“I don’t like to be bored,” says Bev, while describing her approach to vitality, “and I’m not afraid to try anything.” 

Well stated Bev, and thanks for the inspiration!

Kalamazoo Literacy Council

Declaration for the Right to Literacy

You're invited to join the Kalamazoo Literacy Council in celebration of the Declaration for the Right to Literacy on Thursday, November 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Van Deusen Room (Central branch 3rd floor). Community leaders, advocates, and partner agencies will gather in the spirit of affirming that literacy is a human right that everyone deserves. The evening will feature several brief presentations about the impact of literacy, along with the signing of the "Literacy Scroll." Refreshments will be served.

Find the event on Facebook. Please RSVP to Kito at or call (269) 382-0490 ext. 211. 

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.