An OLLI Zoom meeting

Programs & Activities

OLLI-UM offers multiple avenues by which members can explore new ideas, enhance creativity, and engage their minds.

Included below are brief descriptions of the categories of events OLLI offers followed by information on scholarships, event cancellation, other policies, and a list of OLLI venues. Click on the links for more information about a topic.

  • For a complete list of OLLI events, you can view the online Course Catalog.
  • A PDF version of the print Catalog is available online.
  • To register and pay for events online using a credit card, click on the "Register Online" menu at the left of the page. The online method is preferred for the 2021-22 program year.
  • To register by filling out a "paper form", click the "Register for Events by Mail" menu item at the left to download the form as a PDF. Then print it, fill it out, and send it to OLLI by U.S. Mail.
  • If you haven't yet paid your annual OLLI membership fee (September to August), you can do that at the same time that you register for an event.



Enjoy lectures almost every week, year-round, from the comfort and safety of your home. Academic and professional experts speak on a wide range of cutting-edge social and political issues, science and technology, music, and the arts. Ask questions of the speakers via Zoom. Our teleconference lectures include the weekly lectures of the Thursday Morning Lecture Series (five series on different themes throughout the year with six individual lectures per series), the monthly Distinguished Lecture Series, and the Urgent and Critical Lecture Series. Read on for details!

Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS)

The OLLI Distinguished Lecture Series consists of ten lectures held on once per month on Tuesday mornings from September through June. The speakers are well-informed experts from town and gown who share their specialized knowledge in an engaging manner. Each lecture is just the beginning; a stimulating question-and-answer period follows most sessions.

  • When: Second Tuesday of each month from 10:00 to 11:30 am
  • Where: All lectures are presented online via Zoom webinar
  • Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
  • Fee: $30 for a 5 lecture package, September-January
  • Fee: $55 for a 10 lecture package, September-June
Winter/Spring 2022 DLS Lectures
This Distinguished Lecture Series was planned by:
Janet Fogler, Ron Frisch, Jerry Gardner, Beverley Geltner, Leo Shedden, Marie Vitale, Katherine Woo, and Al Gourdji (Chair).
Want to join the Distinguished Lecture Committee?
Please contact Chair Al Gourdji by e-mail to

Thursday Morning Lecture Series (TMLS)

There are five Thursday Morning Lecture Series each year. Each series offers six lectures on a unifying theme and a variety of speakers covering specific aspects of the theme. Learning continues in an active question-and-answer period following each lecture.

  • When: Thursday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 am
  • Where: All lectures are presented online via Zoom webinar
  • Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
  • Fee: $35 for a 6-week series
  • Fee: $140 for the all Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
  • Fee: $180 for all 43 Tuesday, Thursday, and Summer Lectures

Themes for Fall 2021 term

  • Canada and the United States - "Unidentical Twins" (9/23-10/28)
  • Our Changing Economics Landscape: Wealth Redistribution, Innovations, and Sustainability (11/4-12/16)

Themes for Winter/Spring 2022 term

Lunch Bunch Discussions

Lunch Bunch sessions in the OLLI Commons offer a chance for discussion following each of the lectures in the Thursday Morning Lecture Series (including the Summer Lecture Series). These discussion sessions are free, but registration is required. Each discussion and reflection session will be led by a member of the sub-committee that created the lecture series.

Summer Lecture Series

Part of the Thursday Morning Lecture Series, this three lecture series will be held on select Thursdays in June from 10:00 to 11:30 am. 

The theme for the 2022 Summer Lecture Series is "Nature and Recreation in Southeast Michigan".

June 9th, June 16th, and June 23, 2022

Fee $15 for the series or $10 for a single lecture daypass. OLLI membership is not required.


Lecture Series Packages

There are six lecture series packages:

  • Distinguished Lecture Series Package, September–June
    • 10 lectures for $55, save $45, available only in the fall
  • Distinguished Lecture Series Session 1, September–January
    • 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available only in the fall
  • Distinguished Lecture Series Session 2, February–June
    • 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available in fall and winter/spring
  • Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
    • 33 lectures for $140, save $65, available only in the fall
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
  • All Lecture Series Package
    • 43 lectures for $180, save $125, available only in the fall
    • Includes Distinguished Lecture Series (10 lectures)
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
  • All Lecture Series Package plus The Futurescape of Medicine
    • 48 lectures for $225, available only in the fall
    • Includes Distinguished Lecture Series (10 lectures)
    • Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
    • Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
    • Includes The Futurescape of Medicine Series (5 lectures)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

In 2019, OLLI-UM adopted a strategic plan that mandated the creation of our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to ensure that DEI values would be infused throughout our program at every level. The committee drafted a mission statement which is detailed below. Our goal was to lay out a roadmap for the program and ourselves, so that we would be accountable in realizing our objectives.

Click on the headings below to show or hide a topic.

DEI Mission Statement

The mission of the DEI Committee is to increase the diversity of OLLI membership and create an environment that welcomes all; increase awareness of racial, social, economic, educational and health disparities experienced by marginalized communities; encourage members’ self- education and self-reflection on issues related to implicit bias; and promote positive, transformational change leading to the eradication of racial and social injustice in ourselves, the OLLI membership, and the community-at-large.

How We Will Do This

  • Spearheading efforts that lead to continuing awareness and education of our members on issues related to racial and social inequities through lectures, workshops, book discussions, and study groups, and encouraging members to initiate their own self-education on these issues.
  • Working closely with other OLLI committees to ensure DEI principles are infused and integrated throughout the program.
  • Partnering both within UM and with external organizations with similar aims to collaborate on relevant programming and initiatives.
  • Evaluating the outcomes of our DEI strategies, wherever possible, in order to identify and implement continuous improvements and identify positive and negative outcomes such that initiatives can either be continued or improved upon.

In keeping with the mission statement, many thought-provoking lectures and classes are included for the Winter/Spring 2021 term. We are intentionally offering many different formats to explore these complex topics, including lectures, dialogs, and study groups. We will be sending surveys after each event so that we can incorporate participant feedback and continue to improve.

In a strategic effort of outreach to UM and the broader community, OLLI has sought and deepened partnerships with such organizations as the UM Turner African American Services Council (TAASC), Ypsilanti District Library, UM Ford School of Public Policy and UM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The DEI Committee has now started to identify additional partners with similar aims to determine shared interests, and together plan activities, programming and educational opportunities to expand our collective reach.

As you can see, OLLI has set in motion a thoughtful and determined process for fulfilling our DEI mission and values as outlined in our strategic plan. But we are just getting started!  With the DEI Committee’s leadership, OLLI and our programs will become richer and deeper in meaningful ways, and so will each of us. Please join us so that all voices can be heard and represented in our community and beyond.

DEI Highlights for Winter 2022: 

  • Distinguished Lecture Series: Immigration, Redistribution, and Right-Wing Populi in Europe
  • Distinguished Lecture Series: Making Sense of Afghanistan History and Place in World Politics
  • OLLI Reads: The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice by Dr. Scott Ellsworth
  • OLLI UM Collaboration: Wish You Were Here: African Art and Restitution
  • OLLI Out Of Town: Art Across Cultures
  • OLLI Out Of Town: 150 Years of Detroit Music
  • OLLI Out Of Town: Moccasins and Microphones: Modern Native Storytelling Through Performance Poetry
  • Thursday Morning Lecture Series: Music in Detroit and Michigan Lecture Series
  • Thursday Morning Lecture Series: Native Americans of the Great Lakes Region Lecture Series

Study Groups: Small group learning

From “Caravans, Cultures, and Chinggis Khan Along the Silk Route” to “Computerized Investing: Asset Allocation and Mutual Funds” and everything in between, OLLI Study Groups offer something for everyone. For a small-group learning experience in which participants can discuss issues, share knowledge, and grow in unexpected ways, OLLI Study Groups can’t be beat! More than 60 high-quality courses are offered each term (Fall and Winter/Spring/Summer), and may last anywhere from one to 10 weeks or more.

Cost: $10 to $95 per event.

Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)

A Shared Interest Group (SIG) brings people together who have a common interest that they wish to pursue indefinitely within a structure of meetings and activities designed primarily by the members of the group. A SIG will strive to develop a sense of community and friendship among its members even as it endeavors to enhance members’ skills, education, and experiences.

A SIG is different from a traditional Study Group

  • A SIG does not have a formal class syllabus.
  • Members of a SIG determine the content and discussion of a SIG. A designated facilitator arranges meetings, takes attendance, and initiates the discussion among the SIG members on how the group will operate.
  • Persons within a SIG are assured of ongoing membership in it until they decide not to participate.
  • SIGs vary in how often they meet.
  • A SIG does not have a formal ending date.
  • A SIG may be formed by OLLI members because of a particular ongoing interest that is not offered in a study group.
  • A SIG may also be formed to socialize and learn together in a group that meets regularly.

Start a SIG

If you ever wanted to start a long-term group activity, submit a proposal for a Shared Interest Group through OLLI. Applications accepted at any time. Contact the OLLI office for details.

Ongoing SIGs

OLLI currently has three active SIGs that are full and three SIGs with space available. 

† You may register to add your name to the wait list of a full SIG and the OLLI Office will contact you if a spot opens.

Want to get involved with Special Interest Groups (SIGs)?
Please contact OLLI Assistant Director Julie Brown by e-mail to

Afternoons with OLLI: Informal learning at friendly gatherings

“Afternoons with OLLI” is the new name for what was called "Evenings with OLLI" in previous years, but one of the Winter/Spring meetings is in the evening. Afternoons with OLLI provides informal learning in a congenial group setting. Local personalities present programs in the late afternoon or early evening to encourage attendance by pre-retirees as well as retirees.

Afternoons with OLLI offers a wide variety of programming to enjoy as we explore Ann Arbor, southeast Michigan, and our wonderful Great Lakes state. Programs feature local personalities, engaging stories about our community and state, and delve into current issues.

  • When: Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30pm, January 19 and 3:00-4:30pm March 16
  • Where: Online via Zoom.
  • Fees: $10 per event or $35 for a package of four events. Free to new members during their first year!
  • Membership: This is one OLLI activity that you do not need to be a member to attend.
  • Registration: To register without being a member or to register for free in your first year, please mail in an event registration form to the office.

Highlights for Winter/Spring 2022

Journey on the Underground Railroad

Out of Town Trips

OLLI Out of Town is back with virtual trips to sites around southeast Michigan and, sometimes, even farther afield.

OLLI has transitioned from in-person travel to virtual travel and is offering three dynamic programs to provide you with a kickoff into your weekend on one Tuesday afternoon and three Friday afternoons.

  • Select Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
  • $10-$15 per trip or $50 for a package of 4.
  • All programs are presented online.

Trip Highlights for Winter/Spring 2022

Want to join the OLLI Out of Town Committee?
Please contact Chair Ruth Primas by e-mail to

OLLI Reads!

OLLI Reads! is a shared experience where we read and discuss a common book. As OLLI members, we read a book at the same time, then come together for a presentation by the author, followed by a discussion.

There are two books on the schedule for Winter/Spring 2022:

Kickoffs, Open Houses, Fundraisers, and Tutorials

Save the Date! Big Hearted Stories: Journeys

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

7:00 p.m.

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre and Michigan League

Ann Arbor

Visit the Big Hearts for Seniors website for information on the storyteller submission process and the 2022 event. Prospective storytellers can submit their story through February 25th. For updates leading up to the event, follow us on Facebook!

On May 27, 2021, Big Hearts for Seniors presented Big Hearted Stories: Generations. Four local storytellers engrossed the virtual audience with true-life stories around the theme of "generations." Special guests included emcee Vic Strecher, Ph.D., MPH, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in the U-M School of Public Health, and former University of Michigan Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Beilein. Over 500 households registered, and to date, the event has over 1,000 views. In addition, the event brought in a record number of 50 sponsors totaling $48,000 and 7 In-kind sponsrs. The Silent Auction also shattered records by raising $13,000 from 130 items donated by 85 businesses/individuals.   Overall, the event has raised over $40,000 to support Big Hearts for Seniors’ five Michigan Medicine community programs that serve older adults. View our 2021 event, Big Hearted Stories: Generations here. 

Big Hearts for Seniors Benefits:

Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels

Housing Bureau for Seniors

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Silver Club Memory Programs

Turner Senior Wellness Program


This category typically includes:

  • Fall Kickoff event(s) held each September;
  • OLLI's Virtual Winter Open House held each January;
  • OLLI Annual Meeting and Election and Lecture, in May
  • Big Hearted Stories: Generations, the Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event
  • Tutorials that provide an introduction to OLLI's programs and services.

View YouTube videos of these Big Hearted Stories events:

OLLI Commons

The OLLI Commons is a free Zoom meeting space available for regularly scheduled informal gatherings that meet once a month, twice a month, or every week. You can create or join an ongoing group. While participation in OLLI Commons events is free, registration is required. The OLLI annual membership fee does not have to be paid to register for Commons events.

Check the Commons Calendar to see what’s occurring when.  Join every time the group meets or only when you want to be part of a conversation.

Scheduled Commons Events

To register for an OLLI Commons event, sign-in using your email address and password, then click on one of the links above or visit the Commons section of the online Course Catalog. You must register for each OLLI Commons event you want to attend. The Zoom links you'll need to join the Commons meetings are sent out via email to those who have registered in advance of the meeting and are listed in the Event Details for the event available from the online Course Catalog and on your Payment History page if you are signed in and registered for the event. See  more info here



OLLI reserves the right to substitute speakers. The views expressed are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Michigan.

First Lecture is Free

You may attend your first OLLI lecture for free and without becoming an OLLI member. After that, membership is required in order to attend lectures. The annual membership fee is $25/year and covers the period from September through August. Once you are a member, you can drop in to any lecture for $10.

Study Group $10 Discount Coupon

Never taken an OLLI-UM study group before? Enjoy $10 off your first study group registration.

Afternoons with OLLI Events are Free in a Member's First Year

All new members are welcome at all Afternoons with OLLI events as our guest in their first year as a member.

Dropping OLLI Lectures, Study Groups, and Other Events

Contact the OLLI Office to drop OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events. If the event is dropped before the first meeting for single session events and before the second meeting for multiple session events, you can be given a credit or refund for the event’s fee. Call the OLLI Office to use your credits as payment toward other OLLI events. If the event is dropped after the second meeting, no credit will be given, but it is still important to drop so that we’ll know who is attending and to possibly open up space for someone on a waiting list.

Credits and Refunds

Contact the OLLI Office to find out what your credit balance is and to use your available credits as payment toward other OLLI events. Credits do not expire, but you need to explicitly ask to use them. Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot use your credits online.

OLLI will issue credits, or grant a refund upon request, for study groups that are cancelled.

The OLLI annual membership fee is not refundable.

There are two ways you can access your credit:

  1. Online — Please send us an email at requesting a refund when you submit your online registration. Unfortunately we are unable to process credits during your online registration, but we can issue a refund from the office when you send us an email.
  2. Paper Registration — When you send in your paper registration form, please make a note that you are using a credit, and subtract the credit amount from the total due.

The OLLI office tries to process refunds as quickly as possible, but it may take several weeks to receive your credit/refund. Refunds are given online for online payments, and by check for cash or check payments. If you have any questions please direct them to

Waiting Lists

When an event is full, members who would like to attend are placed on a waiting list. If space for the event opens up, the OLLI Office will contact the individuals on the waiting list by e-mail or phone in first come first served order to see if they still wish to register.

Event Request/Registration Procedure for Study Groups and Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)

OLLI has created a more equitable registration process. The process applies only to Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs). Registration for other OLLI programs continues on a first-come-first-served basis.

Here is what you need to know for Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) registration:

An initial equal opportunity registration registration period will run from mid-August to early September for Fall term and from mid-December to early January for Winter/Spring term. You can register at any time during these periods and receive equal consideration for classes that become oversubscribed.

All oversubscribed programs will be subject to a lottery to give everyone an equal chance to get in. Early registration does not increase your chances.

Everyone who applies for programs that become subject to the lottery will be notified of the outcome by e-mail a few days after the lottery is conducted.

Members who are not selected will be given refunds, placed on a wait list and invited to join if space becomes available. Our goal is to issue the refunds during the week after the lottery.

Registration for classes that are not full will still be possible on a first-come-first-served basis after January 12th.

As before, you can register on-line or by mail. There will be no in-person registration for the 2020-21 program year. Online registration is the preferred method this term since the OLLI staff's ability to process mailed registrations is more limited due to COVID-19.

All payments must be made at the time of registration.

Gift Certificates

OLLI members may purchase gift certificates and give them to others to cover the fees for OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events. Contact the OLLI Office for details.


Scholarships are available to offset or eliminate the costs of OLLI membership and/or programming. Scholarships are available for membership and all programs, including lectures, study groups, out of town trips, shared interest groups (SIGs), OLLI Reads, and special events. No income verification is required. For more information or to request scholarship assistance, please contact us by email or phone, or (734) 998-9351.

Severe Weather Class Cancellation

One of the positives of being online only is that lectures and classes will continue online in any weather. 

Lecture Videos

Viewing videos online

OLLI members can access past lectures in OLLI’s Video Catalog. Some of our videos have been watched over 600 times since this service was launched in March 2020 - check out OLLI’s amazing video offerings!

You use OLLI's Video Catalog to locate, if necessary purchase, and to view videos. Access to some videos is free and available to the public. Viewing most videos, however, requires a current OLLI membership. Access to videos comes automatically with no additional fee when you register for the lecture or lecture series. Access to videos may also be purchased for an additional fee. You sign in using your OLLI username and password to access these videos.

Most OLLI lectures starting in Fall 2017 are recorded including the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS, held on Tuesdays), Thursday Morning Lecture Series (TMLS), Summer Lecture Series (SLS), and Special lectures, e.g. the Fall Kickoff lectures, the Climate Change series and the Urgent and Critical series. Exceptions are those lectures for which the lecturers did not provide recording authorization, lectures that were canceled or where there was a technical problem. If a lecture is postponed, its recording should be available at a later date.

Due to the time required to edit the lecture videos, add closed captions, and include presentation slides, new videos are usually added to the Video Catalog about 10 days after a lecture occurs.


  • An online tutorial is available to help members navigate the video catalog and view videos.
  • Or see a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers available under Video Help for more details.


The fees for online video access follow OLLI's regular fee structure as outlined below, but remember that there is no additional charge if you purchased access to the lecture or lecture series when it was live:

  • Annual Membership fee                                                     — $  25 (required)
  • All Lecture Series Package (DLS/TMLS/SLS)                        — $180
  • All Lecture Series Package and Election 2020 Series            — $210
  • One TMLS Series (6)                                                         — $  35
  • Urgent and Critical Series: Climate Change, Election 2020   — $  35
  • DLS Lectures (10)                                                            — $  55
  • DLS Lectures (5)                                                              — $  30
  • Day pass/one lecture                                                        — $  10
  • Lectures from prior program years                                     — $    3*
  • Fall Kickoff, Winter Open House, Tutorials                          — No Fee
  • Lectures from past years                                                   — $  3 per lecture.

* Current OLLI membership is required to view past years’ lectures.