English writer Alan Moore said that knowledge is like air. It is vital to life and no one should be denied it. That’s why the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Oklahoma State University is a breath of fresh air to so many adults regardless of their age.
Now [email protected] is kicking up for its ninth year to bring OLLI members in Bartlesville in-person classes, live telecasts and more online courses that ever before beginning Sept. 20.
Focusing simply on the joy of learning, there is no homework, no papers to write and no grades in any OLLI class. Most classes meet weekly for six weeks for two hours, usually from 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m.; others may meet for a few weeks or only once.
Local OLLI members usually meet online or in person at the library or a local church or museum. An online catalog with registration information is available at education.okstate.edu.olli.
Local classes this fall will be taught by Kevin Bennett, Debbie Finch, Larry Glass, Betsy Howard, Pepper Hume, Linda Kliewer, Diane Leroux, Tom O’Connor, Ana Reeves, Karen Taylor, Joe Todd and Bartlesville’s own Gary Nealis, a retired NASA astrophysicist and engineer, who will teach a class about the Space Shuttle and the assembly of the International Space Station.
During his career at NASA, Nealis provided engineering support on many missions.
“Earth is really pretty from above. We could see lightning flashing for miles,” he said. “One time we had the TV going from the payload bay and it went the whole length of Africa and we saw all of Africa.”
Nealis is hopeful that space exploration, as seen with SpaceX and others, continues.
“I hope we will keep doing it,” he said. “The station is still up there – I watched it go over a couple of nights ago.”
Nealis’ 8-week class will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 21 through Nov. 9 at Bartlesville First Church.
Those with culinary tastes may want to head to Bartlesville Public Library’s new kitchen, where six local chefs will be preparing international dishes: Rosie Swindell (Mexican), Eva Boatwright (Philipino), Clarissa Rowley (Peruvian), Tyler Glann (home cooking), Justyna Creager (Polish), Remya Gopal (East Indian), Sharon Janda (Czech), and Lilly Tyner (American Indian).
Other local classes include art/acrylics, cake decorating, jewelry design, suncatchers, world history through military eyes, fall floral design, Christmas wreaths, landscape design, Mel Brooks movies, compassionate communication, and a look at systemic racism as evidenced in the Civil War, Jim Crow and critical race theory.
The non-local class options present dozens of subjects from advocacy in Oklahoma to yoga; from “Little House on the Prairie” to the women of WWII; from aging in place to the European Union. Some classes are free, such as the one-day class about the Vietnam and Afghanistan withdrawals; others are $10 or more.
To enroll, an OLLI membership is required. Any adult with an interest in continuing education and engaging with others is encouraged to join. The $200 annual membership allows unlimited attendance to all courses offered during the fall, spring and summer sessions in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Bartlesville. The à la carte membership is $40 with an additional $25 for each course.