OLLI Student in Classroom

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Experience the joy of learning from those who find joy in teaching. 

Ways to Engage with OLLI

OLLI Students Laughing in Classroom

Sign-Up to Attend OLLI Courses this Spring

The 2022 spring session will take place February 21 – May 6, 2022. Please consult the course descriptions for specific scheduling information. Registration is now open.

Course Topics

Make ‘Em Laugh: Film Comedies Over the Years
Instructor: Michael Simeone
5 sessions | $35
Tuesday | February 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22
Tuesday | April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3
1:00pm – 3:30pm | Widener University

Comedy is the earliest and most durable of film genres. Although not everyone will agree on what is funny, these films will surely generate a few laughs to leaven these serious times. A new film will be presented and discussed each week. Members may choose to enroll in Session A, Session B, or both.

The History of Broadway Theatre
Instructor: Loretta Wehbe
5 sessions | $35
Wednesday | February 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23
1:00pm – 2:10pm | Widener University

This course will explore the history of Broadway. It will feature actors and directors sharing personal stories of their theatre experiences, with lots of vignettes and fascinating tales. Films of plays and musicals will be shown and discussed.

Can Music Make a City?
Instructor: Lee Bettenhausen
5 sessions | $35
Tuesday | April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3
2:00pm – 3:10pm | Taylor Arboretum

Can music make a city? In Louisville, KY, the mayor and the symphony director asked this question. The city had suffered a major flood in 1937 and was still recovering ten years later. Their idea was to pay composers to write new music, record the orchestra playing this music, then sell records. They hoped this would pay for the operation and enhance the city’s image. It worked! From 1947 until 1992, the orchestra released on its own label 170 records of 450 new compositions by living composers. This course will use a PBS movie, interviews with composers and musicians, and samples of the music to tell this story.

Introduction to Digital Photography
Instructor: Colleen McCarthy
5 sessions | $50
Tuesday | April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3
3:30pm – 4:30pm | Rockdale Art Center

This photography course will introduce different ways to use digital technology to move beyond the snapshot and produce more effective photos. Students will learn photographic composition while advancing technical skills in areas of camera functions, lighting, and post-processing. A digital camera or smartphone can be used.

Ten Great American Playwrights
Instructor: Loretta Wehbe
5 sessions | $35
Wednesday | April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4
1:00pm – 2:10pm | Widener University

Explore some of the great playwrights in American theatre, and participate in engaging discussions about the best contemporary stage performances. Plays will be presented in the context of their original presentations, as well as legacy. Specific scenes will be viewed on video.

How Birds Made Us Human
Instructor: Rob Fergus
5 sessions | $35
Thursday | April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5
10:30am – 11:40am | Taylor Arboretum

For millions of years, humans have been watching and copying bird behavior. Many of the behaviors that we take to be inherently human - walking upright, using tools, language, writing, music, dance, sewing, pottery, home building, and flight - were perfected by birds long before we became human. This course looks at the shared history of humans and birds, and how we became human by copying these behaviors from birds in our shared environment.

T’ai Chi Chih
Instructor: April Leffler
5 sessions | $35
Friday | April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6
10:15am – 11:25am | Taylor Arboretum

Learn the centering beauty of T’ai Chi Chih, a soft, flowing, moving meditation practiced by thousands of people worldwide. It’s easy to learn and brings many benefits, including peace of mind, improved health, and joy. It requires no particular level of fitness, no special equipment or clothing, and may be done while seated. New participants are welcome.

The History of Ridley Township
Instructor: Keith Lochhart
3 sessions | $21
Monday | March 7, 14, 21
10:30am – 11:40am | Taylor Arboretum

In 1682, John Simcock purchased 2,875 acres of land from William Penn and named the area Ridley after his hometown in England. Local historian Keith Lochhart presents a two-part illustrated history of Ridley Township. For nearly 45 years, Keith has accumulated historical photographs of Delaware County which he will share in the final session.

The Way We Used to Be: The 1950’s
Instructor: Michael Simeone
5 sessions | $35
Tuesday | February 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22
Tuesday | April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3
10:30am – 11:40am | Park Avenue Community Center

A nostalgic look at the objects and stories that filled our lives when we were young, and the political, social, and technological forces that replaced them. This course will also cover the events that grabbed our attention during this important, yet often overlooked decade. A new topic will be presented and discussed each week. Members may choose to enroll in Session A, Session B, or both.

American Colonial Life
Instructor: Noah Lewis
5 sessions | $35
Tuesday | February 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22
2:30pm – 3:40pm | Taylor Arboretum

Each week, students will explore a variety of diverse topics on American colonial life through the eyes of Revolutionary War hero Edward “Ned” Hector, as portrayed by historical interpreter Noah Lewis. Topics include colonial customs, teamstering, weapons and firearms, notable Black colonial figures, and George Washington and the slave soldiers.

America’s First Ladies – Part II
Instructor: David Hudiak
3 sessions | $21
Wednesday | February 23, March 2, 9
10:30am – 11:40am | Park Avenue Community Center

This course is a continuation of our study on women who have served as First Lady of the United States. We will learn about Presidential wives who occupied the role while their husbands were Chief Executive, as well as Presidential spouses who passed away before their husbands were elected. Additionally, students will hear about women who served as White House Hostess during the absence or incapacity of the First Lady. It is not necessary to have taken Part I in order to enroll in America’s First Ladies: Part II.

Comparative Religions
Instructor: Ghada Zakaria
5 sessions | $35
Wednesday | February 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23
2:30pm – 3:40pm | Widener University

This course will focus on the similarities and differences among four religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i – and how they came into existence. The symbolic signs of each religion will also be compared and discussed.

The Home Front: Headlines, Pictures, and Memorabilia of WW2
Instructor: David Hudiak
3 sessions | $21
Wednesday | April 6, 13, 20
10:30am – 11:40am | Widener University

Much attention has recently been given to Americans who lived through WW2. Known by many as the “Greatest Generation,” they displayed a sense of national unity and purpose that is rarely seen in contemporary American society. By reviewing a series of newspaper front pages, photographs of homeland activities, and memorabilia of the war years, students will get a sense of the way things were during that era. Participants will be invited to consider what has changed since then, and why our society is far more fractious and divisive today. A review of newspaper clippings will also show that, while some things have changed greatly, others were the same then and now – Blondie and Dagwood were in the comics and the Phillies were disappointing their fans!

Ancient Civilizations
Instructor: Ghada Zakaria
5 sessions | $35
Wednesday | April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4
2:30pm – 3:40pm | Widener University

This course will explore the ancient civilizations of the Persian and Ottoman Empires. The Persian Empire (559 B.C.E. to 331 B.C.E.) encompassed an area of modern-day Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Ottoman Empire controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the early 14th and 20th centuries.

Held regularly on Thursday afternoons at 1:00pm, the OLLI Seminar Series is just one of many membership benefits.

February 24 | Gerry Mansell
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Sentinel's Perspective

March 3 | John Furmanak
The History of Aviation, Transportation, and Manufacturing in Delaware County, PA

March 10 | Mark Ross
Jazz Music in the 20th Century

March 17 | Pamela Dimeler
The Beauty of the Celtic Harp

March 24 | Ellen Monsees
"Time Heals All Wounds" and Other Myths About Grief

April 7 | John Furmanak
The Milton Hershey School for Children & the $13 Billion Trust Fund

April 14 | Rob Fergus
The Incredible Edible Egg

April 21 | Judy Leahy
Seated & Standing Zumba Gold + Balance Education

April 28 | Skip Shuda
What is Shamanism?

May 5 | TextBreakers
Cinco de Mayo Celebration & Trivia Game!

Support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Thanks to the generosity of friends, neighbors, and current members, OLLI can make powerful programming and compelling courses available to hundreds of lifelong learners. These supporters ensure that adults in nearby communities never stop learning. Will you join them? Find out how your gift will extend OLLI offerings for years to come. 

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