Upcoming Lectures

All lectures are at the OLLI office at 301 North Neil Street in Champaign unless otherwise noted.

These lectures are free and open to all OLLI members; advance registration is required.

Please note differing days/times of these lectures.


OLLI Library Basics
Sarah Christensen
Thursday, October 25, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

As an OLLI member, you have access to one of the greatest libraries in the country.  The University of Illinois Library partners with OLLI to bring members access to the largest public university research library in the United States.  Although this session is intended primarily to introduce new or recent OLLI members to the many resources of the University Library, it is open to all OLLI members.  Feel free to attend even if you have already attended a session in the past and would like a refresher on the many U of I Library benefits.

Sarah Christensen, University of Illinois Librarian, will provide instructions on how to check out materials from the library including books and videos, access online databases such as PubMed and ArtStor as well as read online newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.


Documenting and Exhibiting Underrepresented Groups through Archives
Jessica Ballard
Thursday, October 25, 12:00–1:30 p.m.

Jessica Ballard, Archives Resident at the University of Illinois, will present an overview of her work documenting underrepresented groups within the archives collections. The lecture will cover several specific projects that are currently underway, including:

  1. Constructing a digital map documenting where the black students lived between the 1930s-50s before they could live on campus and how that project influenced future university culture, including the first African American student body president in 1948.
    2. The 50th anniversary of Project 500, the first extensive effort by the University of Illinois to offer equal educational opportunities for all of the residents of Illinois.
    3. Programming for the Sousa archives, including upcoming events featuring musicians specializing in film and banjos.

Jessica received both her Master’s in Library Science, and her Master’s in History from Indiana University in 2016. During her time at Indiana University, she specialized in archives. Jessica worked at the University Archives, the Black Film Center Archives, the Sidney and Eskenazi Museum of Art, the Lilly Library, the Kinsey Center, and served as an intern at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She holds a Bachelors in History, and a Bachelors in American Racial and Multicultural Studies from St. Olaf College. Before making the transition to library studies, Jessica was employed at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, and volunteered with both the education department and the archives department at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.


The University of Illinois and World War I - A Centennial Lecture
Ryan Ross
Thursday, November 8, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Ryan Ross (Coordinator, History and Traditions Program, U of I Alumni Association) will discuss the University of Illinois and WWI in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the armistice. Ryan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in English who also holds an M.S. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Prior to joining the Alumni Association staff in 2015, he was an archivist and researcher at the University of Illinois Foundation and at the University Library, where he created 2012 exhibits celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Land Grant Act displayed in the Main Quad buildings. He has co-taught two OLLI courses on the history of the University of Illinois.


OLLI at Illinois - Osher National Conference Report
Christine Catanzarite and Cathie Webber
Friday, November 9, 1:30–3:00 p.m.

The National Conference of the Osher Institutes was held earlier this month in Scottsdale, Arizona and OLLI at Illinois was represented by Director Chris Catanzarite and Board Chair Cathie Webber. Join us for this session, in which Chris and Cathie will report on the conference and their experiences as presenters – as well as their conversations with other OLLI directors and volunteer leaders from across the nation. They will also provide information about the national Osher network and OLLI at Illinois’ role within it.

There are 122 OLLI programs across the country, in every state and encompassing more than 165,000 members – and each institute offers a very personalized slate of programs that reflect the interests and resources of their membership, campus, and community. So each OLLI is different – but all OLLIs share a sense of curiosity and engagement. We invite you to register for this session and learn more about the things that we have in common with other OLLIs, and the things that make OLLI at Illinois distinct.

Chris Catanzarite has been Director of OLLI at Illinois since January 2012. Cathie Webber is currently serving her first year of a two-year term as Board Chair.


Trump vs. Putin, Year Two and Counting
Richard Tempest
Tuesday, November 13, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

For the last two years, what Donald Trump once called “this Russia thing” has been at the center of American politics, and it may yet determine the fate of his presidency. This lecture will examine the president’s public records and identities as well as the historical, economic, and institutional factors shaping the competition between the United States and Russia. We will also consider the repercussions this relationship has on the wider geopolitical picture, e.g., the global populist wave, the rise of China, and other challenges to the post-Cold War world order.

Richard Tempest is an Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois. Of British-Bulgarian parentage, he spent his childhood in Moscow, where his parents worked as foreign correspondents, and holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He is a former director of the Russian and Eurasian Center at Illinois. Tempest’s interests include Russian history and culture, the political science of the body, and popular culture and science fiction. He has lectured on these topics nationally and internationally. Tempest is the author of several books as well as a novel, Golden Bone (2005), which he wrote in Russian. It tells the story of an American professor who travels to Putin’s Russia, discovers he is descended from Catherine the Great, though on the wrong side of the blanket, and decides to crown himself tsar. Tempest’s monograph Overwriting Chaos: The Fictive Worlds of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is slated for publication in early 2019. He is currently researching a book on the politics of charisma in the 21st century.


To Register

These events are free and open to all OLLI members, and if noted, to their guests. Advance registration is required, and registration is open now:

1. Online via your OLLI account at http://reg138.imperisoft.com/OlliIllinois/search/registration.aspx

2. By email at olli@illinois.edu

3. By phone at (217) 244-9141

To register a non-member guest, please call or email and we will add them to the registration list.