The following Bonus Programs, one-time lectures, are free and open to the public.  Registration is not needed to attend Bonus Programs.  However, courses, trips, supper clubs and other events do require membership and registration.  If you have questions, please call the OLLI Office, (205) 348-8591.

Organized by OLLI Chapter

Quickly navigate to events nearest to you by clicking one of the locations below.

TuscaloosaGreater BirminghamGadsdenGreensboroPickens County



Wednesdays, 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Bryant Conference Center
Coordinator: Mary Jon Sneckenberger

Bonus programs are open to the public. No registration needed.

Jan. 22  Swim, Bike and Run – Triathlon for the Mature Athlete or Couch Potato
Elizabeth Aversa
With a mix of humor and seriousness, this session presents the ups and downs of doing your first triathlon even if you’re over 60! One who has done it will discuss necessary gear, where to get it, and which bank to rob to finance it; how to make a wetsuit or bike kit fashion statement; training tips; and how to complete the event. Handouts include a training program and a list of senior friendly sprint events.

Jan. 29  Escape from Communism
Bela K. Berty
My father Jozsef Berty was a chemical engineer who carried out his vow to God to love his wife and to serve as a great provider for their family. Each trial and tribulation in Communist Hungary he met with a bold step forward and made us think that he had a good time doing it! Eventually, Dr. Berty chose to come to America, because he considered there was no way for socialism or communism to take hold in the USA.

Feb. 5  From Lyons to Marseilles and Beyond
Bruce Burrows
As each of Bruce and Gay Burrows’ children turns 50, the parents treat them to a cruise wherever they wish. This was the year for France and all the glorious sights of wine country. Each day presented a mixture of stunning landscapes, lovely vineyards and educational stops (taste-testing) on the Saone and Rhone Rivers. After visiting Avignon and Arles, it was onto Marseilles. Ensuring this was to be the best birthday bash ever, they continued onto Barcelona, Spain.

Feb. 12  Quilted Stories: Southern History Expressed through Needle and Thread
Gail C. Andrews
Quilts are visual documents of our country’s history; they can be made to celebrate an important event or record a tragedy. Andrews, Director Amerita of the Birmingham Museum of Art will explore the ways quiltmakers have expressed their feelings about country, politics, political loyalties, war and various social movements.

Feb.19   Alabama Senior Olympics: Fit @ 50 and Beyond!
Phil Holmes & Deanna Pack
Come join us and learn about the Alabama Senior Olympics. The Olympics are a great opportunity to participate in a social, recreational and athletic event for anyone 50 years of age and over. We offer 20 different sports from archery, basketball, bowling, golf, pickleball, shuffleboard, tennis, track & field and many more! In this class, you will hear from one of our athletes, learn about the sports in which you can participate and other opportunities to get involved.

Feb. 26  Honduras in the ‘60s
Kay Chesnut
This session will take you on a journey through Honduras as seen through the eyes of a Peace Corps volunteer. In the 60’s, the Peace Corps was new and Kay’s group was the first one of professional teachers sent to a country to work with rural elementary teachers. Some instructors were close by and others were miles away. Transportation was iffy over gravel roads, difficult when fording streams and rivers, and very hard on the body when traversing mountains by mule to reach the schools. So mount your mule and ride with Kay into the mountains of Honduras….a true step back in time

March 4  Atomic Ladies: America’s First Ladies During the Cold War
Ian Crawford
What was Jackie Kennedy’s plan for the atomic bomb? What items in a newly refurbished White House were deemed worthy of saving if Washington D.C. was attacked? Through the lens of the first ladies of our land, revisit or discover the Cold War mentality and how it affected and permeated American culture. This presentation will go over culture, fashion, politics and behind the scene stories of life in the executive mansion while under the existential threat of nuclear war.

March 11   From Miracles to Mockingbirds: Spirituality in Sculptured Marble Art
Craigger Browne
A world-renowned sculptor, Browne’s work is seen on five continents. After years of living and studying abroad, he is back to his roots in Alabama where some of his recent masterpieces can be seen. They are in Sylacauga, Ivy Green (statue of Helen Keller) and Monroeville (the courthouse from To Kill A Mockingbird). While studying at the Guggenheim, he used the opportunity to research artists and their motivation to create. This presentation will cover art and the public works, personal works and the role of the artist in communicating with society. This is the perfect way to prepare for the OLLI field trip to Sylacauga in April. Craigger Browne is offering OLLI members a preview of his current work on a piece commissioned by fellow member Mort Jordan and family, who are honoring their grandfather


Jan. 16   Birding in Costa Rica
Thurs., 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest
Instructor:  Dwight Lammon, retired emergency and critical care nurse; world-traveling bird observer; birding teacher from OLLI in Tuscaloosa

We will learn about birds, specifically those in Costa Rica, through his stunning photography.

Jan. 17   How Not to Die
Fri., 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (brown-bag lunch)
Homewood Public Library
Instructors:  Cody Hamick, nutritionist, and Janelle Schirmer, RDN LD, registered dietitian nutritionist

Bring your own lunch to this documentary based on Dr. Michael Greger’s book, “How Not to Die,” which reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind a plant-based diet that can help prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease related death. There will be a discussion with experts afterward.

Jan. 28  Medical Home Visits Are Back
Tues., 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Homewood Public Library
Instructor:  Jay Jones, business director of Home Instead Senior Care, a program designed to keep seniors in their homes

In the 1940s, 40% of medical interactions took place in the home. Now, under the Affordable Care Act, medical house calls are making a comeback.

Jan. 30   Nordic Walking
Thurs., 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest
Instructor:  Leroy Hurt, Certified Advanced Nordic Walking Instructor

Nordic walking evolved in Finland from cross-country skiing motion. It is a full-body activity using poles to involve the upper body. Research shows that it improves weight loss, glucose management, muscular strength, lung capacity, heart capability and cholesterol levels. It is a low-impact activity allowing those with strength, balance and joint issues to participate. This session will provide hands-on training, and poles will be available.

Feb. 18   Because of Them, We Can
Tues., 1:00-3:00 p.m. Homewood Public Library
Instructor:  The Seasoned Performers

The Seasoned Performers will present a play about the civil rights movement.

Feb. 20   Life-Changing Volunteer Experience: The Peace Corps in Our 50s
Thurs., 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest
Instructor:  Bob Leventry, sustaining member, National Peace Corps Association While in their 50s,

Marjorie and Bob Leventry were Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador for three years until 1997. Marjorie, (a Certified Dietician and Licensed Nutritionist) served in the Child Malnutrition Program. Bob, a retired COO of two companies, served in the Micro-Business Program. This experience changed them and made the rest of their lives the best of their lives.

Mar. 4   How Civics Affects Our Lives
Wed.,  12:30-2:00 p.m.  (brown-bag lunch)
Emmett O’Neal Library, Mountain Brook
Instructor:  Helen Pruet, retired history and civics teacher

What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens? How do bills become laws? What do our local governments do? Our state? How are our lives impacted and what can we do about it? The presentation will include the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Mar. 9   Forms of Public and Private Transportation
Mon., 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Hoover Senior Center
Instructor:  Marty Robinowich, environmentalist and sustainable transportation provider

Marty will describe public and private ride-sharing programs such as Uber, Lyft, Zypp, Clastran and a service for which he drives, Boomerang Transport, which transports workers’ compensation participants.

April 9   Why Did Apollo 13 Fail?
Thurs., 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest
Instructor:  Jim McDade, space enthusiast and former UAB Technology Director Two days before the 50th anniversary of this aborted moon landing attempt, this bonus will feature footage from NASA as well as a few scenes from the movie that featured Tom Hanks. Jim will describe why it failed and how that experience influences current attempts to reach the moon



Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
UA Gadsden Center
Coordinator: Shirley du Pont,

Bonus programs are open to the public. No registration needed.

January 23  Vietnam from an Advisory Perspective: What Was an Advisor in Vietnam?
Presenter: Cliff Lanham
A veteran of Vietnam, Cliff has recently returned to the country for an extended visit. He will share his story with us. It has been 50 years since he was there; things have changed, or have they? Come hear this story of Vietnam then and now.

January 30   The Impact of the Great Depression on Industry
Presenter: Ty Malugani
Alabama and Birmingham’s industry enjoyed the most economically successful period in its history during World War I, while supplying iron for the war effort. Just over 10 years later though, many called Birmingham the hardest-hit city in the country during the Great Depression. With almost all of Birmingham’s industry shutting down, it took government policies, another world war and sheer willpower to keep Birmingham and Alabama’s industrial hopes alive.

February 6   The Story of the Violin
Presenter: John McFarland
The first clear record of a violin-like instrument comes from paintings by Gaudenzio Ferrari. In his Madonna of the Orange Tree, painted in 1530, a cherub is seen playing a bowed instrument that clearly has the hallmarks of a violin – bulging front and back plates, strings which feed into peg-boxes with side pegs and f-holes. It is not clear exactly who made these first violins, but there is evidence they originated from northern Italy. Learn how the violin is made, its origins, its music and its place in history. John will have violins in various stages of development and share his experience with them.

February 13   Valentine Party
Presenter: Shirley du Pont
Come join us for your Valentine’s Day fix. Our hearts will overflow with the goodies of the day. Be a part of the festivities.

February 20   Halifax Explosion
Presenter: Frances Douglas
During WWI, Halifax Harbor in Nova Scotia was extremely busy. On the morning of December 6, 1917, a maritime disaster destroyed half the city. Hear the details and how the city survived.

February 27   Shakespeare and His World
Presenter: Carmine Di Biase
This lecture will provide an introduction to Shakespeare’s works, his life and times, and his stage. We will survey the comedies, the tragedies, the histories, the sonnets and the narrative poems, covering his major themes and some concrete ways of appreciating the texture of his verse. With regard to the plays, we will examine some of the challenges of performance. And we will try to understand the place his work occupies in his historical context.


A Famous Greensboro “Outlaw”
February 11, Tuesday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Noel-Ramsey House, 909 Market St, Greensboro

Dr. Adelaide Cherry, provides colorful highlights—both fact and legend—surrounding the exploits of John Orrick aka George Washington Arrington. John Orrick was a native of Greensboro and a Confederate scout in Colonel Mosby’s command.  After the war and during an altercation on Main Street, he shot and killed Alex Webb, a Freedman. He escaped by hiding in the cemetery and ultimately fled Alabama with a bounty on his head. He eventually changed his name, served as Captain in the Texas Rangers, Sheriff of Wheeler County, and retired as a prominent rancher. His tombstone reads, “A Fearless Officer to Whom the Frontier of Texas Owes a Debt of Gratitude.”

White House China, Part Two
March 10, Tuesday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Noel-Ramsey House, 909 Market St, Greensboro

Ian Crawford will continue last year’s review of the tableware that has graced the president’s table.  This lecture will cover President U.S. Grant’s china order through present day.

Hale County Library, Its History, Renovation and Community Engagement
April 14, Tuesday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Noel-Ramsey House, 909 Market St, Greensboro

Ian Crawford will tell the history of the Hale County Library and the building that houses it.  It has been the office of Governor Seay and the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Alfred Tunstall. Recently, it has been used as the community library until its renovation in the fall of 2019.  Come enjoy the journey.


Aliceville Museum
February 18, 1:00 p.m.
Gordo City Hall, Gordo, AL
Presenter: John Gillum

From 1942-45, Aliceville, Alabama, had one of the largest German POW camps in the U.S.  Aliceville Museum Director, John Gillum, will show how over 6,000 prisoners and 1,200 personnel made a difference in the small town of Aliceville.

Be Prepared!
March 24, 1:00 p.m.
Gordo City Hall, Gordo, AL
Presenter: Sheriff Todd Hall

In the world we live in today, we must be prepared for a live shooter event. This happens too much to not be aware of what to do.  Sheriff Hall will advise on how to handle these situations so you can always be prepared.

Spring Social
April 21,  6:00 p.m.
Gordo City Hall, Gordo, AL
Presenter: Teresa Plowman

Come spend time with OLLI.  Enjoy an evening to relax and spend time with old friends and maybe make new ones.

Contact Us:

 (205) 348-6482

All OLLI classes, events and field trips have been suspended through the month of April.