Courses & Events

Join us as we say farewell to our outgoing director Jim Peters and welcome our new director, Linda Kehres. Farewelcome! We'll also celebrate the Osher Institute's 15th Anniversary.After nearly eight years as Osher Institute director, Jim is retiring. "We have always tried to refresh our program with new partners, instructors, courses, programs and volunteers," said Peters. "Now it's time to refresh our leadership as well, to pass the baton to our new director, Linda Kehres, who is certain to bring fresh ideas and new energy to the Institute. Let's welcome Linda!" Jim's last official day will be Sept. 30, and we wish him well.Linda comes to the Osher Institute from her position as executive director of Let's Help, a nonprofit community organization in Topeka that promotes a wide variety of services for those in need.We will salute our directors with a reception in their honor on Friday, Oct. 18, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Lied Center Pavilion. A brief program is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.The event is open to the public and admission is free, although registration is required. Register today!Join us as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary and the passing of the leadership baton.

Friday, October 18, 2019, Lied Center
Kansas City has been called "The City of Fountains," but isn't it so much more? Perhaps a better moniker would be "City of Great Public Art!"Join us as we take two tours of Kansas City's most notable artworks. One tour will start in Lawrence and another from the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Both will visit dozens of iconic artworks from Downtown to Crown Center to the Plaza, all introduced and detailed by Ann Wiklund, the Osher Institute's art historian in residence.Among the sites we'll see are "Bird Lives," the larger- than-life sculpture of jazz great Charlie Parker created by Robert Graham and located at 18th & Vine. We'll travel downtown to see Donald Lipinsky's 30-foot homage to Rodin, "Rodinrodannadanna and "Corps of Discovery" by Eugene Daub, honoring Lewis & Clark in West Terrace Park.We'll pass Lawrence-based sculptor Jim Brothers' "Citizen Soldier" at the VFW National Headquarters, "Spider" by Louise Bourgeois and "Crying Giant" by Tom Otterness both on the grounds of the Kemper Museum, and Roxy Paine's 56-foot silver "Ferment," standing like a sentinel in the Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.Amid all this art, we'll stop for lunch at the historic Webster House Restaurant near the Kauffman Center. Join us for a lifetime of art, all in one day!

Thursday, September 26, 2019, Regents Center 100
Friday, September 27, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
From Superman and Batman to Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge to 50s horror comics to Spider- man and the X-Men to today's billion dollar movie blockbusters, this course takes us on a journey through the colorful action-packed history of comic books. Whether you favor funny animals, teenage hijinks, super-heroes, romance, science fiction or horror, we will cover it all in this examination of the almost 100 year history of this most American of inventions.

September 18, 2019 to October 2, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Botanical gardens were first developed in the 16th century as medicinal gardens, but today they are destination sites for plant lovers around the world. From the oldest botanical garden in England, the Chelsea Physic Garden,to the newly revived Scampston Hall walled garden in North Yorkshire,and from the local Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kan., to the Irish National Garden in Belfast, we will explore the history, beauty and meaning of the botanical garden through photography, art and literature. You won't want to miss this armchair tour!

October 1-15, 2019, McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff
October 2-16, 2019, Brewster Place
Join Chuck Warner as he discusses and reads from his new book, Birds, Bones, and Beetles. It's been called "a highly entertaining story about museum specialistCharles 'Bunk' Bunker, who was an early key figure ofthe Universality of Kansas Natural History Museum." He is also Chuck's grandfather.We'll hear about dermestid beetles, who diligently devour the decaying flesh off of animal skeletons that are destined for the museum's specimen collection. That time-saving process was developed at KU by Bunker, an assistant taxidermist who would rise to becomethe curator of recent vertebrates, and who made an indelible mark on his field.Chuck is a lifelong Kansan who grew up in Wichita and came to the University of Kansas, where he studied business and law. After graduation, he went directly into a nearly four-decade career in business, banking and community service in Lawrence. Although he retired from U.S. Bank in 2007, the seed for this book wasn't planted until a family reunion in 2009.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Regnier Hall 165
This course will explore the life and hardships of Kansas Territory immigrants in 1854 - 1860 as viewed through the personal diary and letters of Cyrus K. Holliday to his wife Mary, who remained in Meadville, PA. Holiday was one of the founders of Topeka, and first president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF). We will look at the historical events occurring in the eastern Kansas territory, with a principal focus on the free-state communities of Topeka and Lawrence. We will also look back at this period through newspaper stories documenting the birth of the AT&SF railway in Kansas.

November 7-21, 2019, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging
Celebrated as one of the world's oldest and best a cappella ensembles, The King's Singers have had a rich history of choral excellence for more than 50 years. Their exquisite vocal blend, vastly diverse repertoire and unique British charm are among their most cherished trademarks. The King's Singers have performed around the globe on the most prestigious stages-from London's Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House or New York's Carnegie Hall. Join us for dinner and a presentation before the show.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Lied Center
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU provides noncredit enrichment courses and events specially developed for folks 50 and older-although learners of all ages are welcome. Highly qualified instructors present a wide range of courses, including history, literature, art, music, religion and more. There's no homework. No tests. No pressure. It's learning just for the joy of it.And while we strive to keep the cost of our courses as low as we can--$50 for a single course, there are still many low-income seniors who cannot afford to participate. Our goal is to establish a scholarship fund that will allow these eager adult learners to take Osher courses for just $10 per course. Based on a similar program of the Douglas County Senior Resource Center for county residents, our goal is to make the scholarships available across the Osher program. We will start with senior agencies in five other counties-Riley, Shawnee, Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte-to identify eligible seniors. To qualify, seniors must meet one of three conditions: Live in subsidized housing; receive food stamps; be on Medicaid. Once they qualify they can register for two courses each semester, paying $10 per course with the remainder of the fee covered by the scholarship fund.

July 22, 2019 to December 31, 2019
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU was established in 2004 by a grant for the Bernard Osher Foundation as an outreach program of the University of Kansas. Its mission is to offer noncredit enrichment courses and events to folks over 50 years of age, although we welcome learners of all ages. This is your opportunity to support the Osher Institute. Simply click on the dates below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jim Peters at 785-864-9142 or jimpeters@ku.edu.

July 22, 2019 to December 31, 2019
William Shakespeare wrote comedies, tragedies and so-called romances, but during his lifetime, his most popular plays were his English history plays. In this course, we will read three of Shakespeare's best-loved history plays, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V. We will discuss what makes these plays so special, and why audiences from the 16th into the 21st century have enjoyed them.

September 12-26, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
We've planned a jam-packed three-day excursion to Kansas' western frontier that includes a two-night stay in Colby, with visits to the Prairie Museum, Monument Rocks, the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins, the Duff Buffalo Ranch, Keystone Gallery, Lon Frahm Farm and Nicodemus National Historic Site. Guiding us along the way will be Rex Buchanan, director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey. Sign up today!Departing from the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, we'll pick up travelers in Lawrence and at the Manhattan Junction (I-70 & KS-177). We'll stop for lunch at the historic Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson before we venture on to the Prairie Museum in Colby. Afterwards,we'll check into the Comfort Inn. That evening we'll enjoy a private reception before dinner at the City Limits Bar & Grill.On Thursday morning we're off to the majestic Monument Rocks, a series of chalk formations reaching to 70 feet and formed 80 million years ago when this area was a vast inland sea. Then, we'll visit the iconic Keystone Gallery, once a remote church built in 1917.Today it is a combination museum, art gallery and gift shop. While half of our group visits the gallery, the rest of us will tour Duff's Buffalo Ranch, riding out into the herd in an open-air wagon. Then we'll switch with the gallery group.We'll leave that dusty western Kansas landscape and descend into the verdant oasis of Lake Scott State Park, site of the El Quartelejo Pueblo Ruins. Here we'll enjoy a box lunch picnic before heading north to Oakley to visit the Buffalo Bill Monument.Thursday night, we'll be the dinner guests of Lon Frahm at the Frahm Farmland-27,000 acres of irrigated corn, dryland corn, dryland wheat, sorghum and soybeans. Approximately 8,000 acres are irrigated with 65 center pivots and 18,000 acres are dryland. It'll be a great evening out on the farm!On Friday we're off to Nicodemus, the historic town site of the 1877 westward migration of African Americans looking to enjoy their newfound freedom on land they owned and farmed. Then it's lunch on your own in Hays and back on the road home.

October 2-4, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Gladiatorial combats were prevalent in ancient Rome for 700 years. We will examine the origins of these "games," how they spread and grew in popularity and why they continued. We'll learn where gladiators came from, how they were trained and what their living conditions were like, as well as types of gladiators and how they were paired for combat. Find out about the building of the Colosseum and other venues throughout the empire, the attraction to individual gladiators and how many became popular and developed into sex symbols and, finally, the eventual decline of the institution.

October 23, 2019 to November 6, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
In this course we will examine some famous-and not so famous-cases, both state and federal, that have had significant impact on the law and general society in the United States.We will read the decisions, supporting documents, popular and legal commentaries and try to understand the role of the judiciary and courts in shaping the U.S. The cases include Marbury v. Madison; Dartmouth College v. Woodward; Swift v. Tyson; Dred Scott v. Sandford; Plessy v Ferguson; State of Tennessee v. John ThomasScopes; Macpherson v. Buick Motor Co.; Brown v. Board of Education; District of Columbia v. Heller; Citizens United v Federal Election Commission and Obergefell v.Hodges.

October 17-31, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
November 13, 2019 to December 4, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Kansas has been home to a variety of unique, colorful and important individuals. First will be Joseph G. McCoy, the entrepreneur who brought cattle from the fields of Texas to the railroads at Abilene, creating the iconic cowboy image. Next will be Tom Pendergast, whose political machine ran Kansas City for almost 30 years. William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, was an advisor to eight U.S. presidents. Finally, we'll focus on Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, and his years at the University of Kansas, including mentoring Hall of Famer John McLendon, who could not play at Kansas because he was African-American.

October 30, 2019 to November 13, 2019, Meadowlark Hills

In thelatest edition ofOsher Extended!-our day-long immersion into a single course of study-we're partnering with Nelson-Atkinsprovenance research specialiststo explorethe issues surrounding thousands ofworks of art that were stolen, looted, displaced or illegallyexchanged during the Naziera in Europe. Jewish collectorswere particularly affected by this looting due to Nazi laws thatforbade Jews fromowning property. After thewar, Allied forces found much of the lootedart and returned itto the rightful owners, but other items remain lost. TheNelson-Atkins has researchedand documented the ownership history of its once-looted artworks.

As part ofour study, Michael Hoeflich, former dean of the KU School of Law and versatileOsher instructor, will explore the dark history of the Nazis' assault on art and explainthe laws governing their restitution and title.

MacKenzieMallon,Nelson-Atkins provenance specialist,will describe the journey of several works ofart that were once in thehands of Nazis, includingtheir thefts and return to theirrightful owners and the subsequent legal acquisition by the Nelson-Atkins.

Finally, Alan Lubert, Nelson-Atkins popular docent and veteran Osher artsand literature instructor, willguide us throughthe current Nelson- Atkins exhibition, "Discriminating Thieves:Nazi-looted Art and Restitution," highlighting four worksof arts salvaged fromthe Nazis. MacKenzie will also show us Nazi-held artworksin other galleries of the Museum.

Of course,no visit to the Nelson wouldbe complete without lunch in the majestic Rozzelle Court and time on yourown to visit other galleriesand the Museum store. Join us!


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
When Reconstruction ended in 1877, the federal troops occupying the "unredeemed" Southern states were withdrawn, unleashing racial violence by white supremacist groups such as the Ku KluxKlan and the White League. This forced as many as 40,000 African American "Exodusters" to flee to Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. But it was Kansas, the land of John Brown and the Free State, which attracted most of the refugees.We will review the events that caused the exodus, the arduous trek to Kansas and its leaders, the communities that were established here and the fate of those communities.

September 11-25, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
November 5-19, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

Long before Kansas womenobtained the unfettered right to votein 1912 (a full eightyears before the 19th Amendment established that right nationally), they foundother ways to affect policy in publicspheres dominated by men. The same indomitable spirit that enabled pioneer women to withstand the rigors of frontierlife infused their efforts to shapethe society in which they lived. Sara Robinson, Julia Lovejoy, Clarina Nichols, Carry Nation, Annie Diggs, Mary Lease, and Lilla Day Monroe, among others, took on such struggles as those toabolish slavery, repel demon rum,improve the lot of farmers and secure more rights for women.

September 25, 2019 to October 9, 2019, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center
The landscapes of the Weald and Downs have made Sussex a beautiful setting for a rich history of dragons and dinosaurs, Romans, Normans, saints and devils, cannon ironmasters, and smugglers. In this class, we will take a virtual tour through a pageant of myth and history, people and places of this county from ancient times to the present day.

November 5-19, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

Few places in the world have experienced as much historical drama as the world's longest river. For more than 4,500, years the Nile has witnessed sweeping events of discovery, conflict and engineering. It's been the stage for larger-than-life characters, remarkable edifices and far-reaching ideas. Join us for a sampling of stories that illustrate the geography, cultures and history of that primeval waterway, the Nile River.


October 15-29, 2019, Aldersgate Village Manchester Lodge
The Oracle at Delphi was the superstar of the ancient Greek world. Speaking from the "navel of the earth" as the voice of Apollo, her soothsaying launched wars, ratified laws, counseled marriages and helped spark western philosophy. For over a thousand years her influencewas felt throughout the Hellenic sphere. Her prophesies were often mysterious and prone to misinterpretation, making fertile soil for many Greek tragedies.

September 17, 2019 to October 1, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
This course will examine the crucial eastern theater of the Civil War. First we'll review the first two years of the war where Confederate tactical dominance consistently defeated larger Union armies. Then we'll review the pivotal year 1863 and Lee and Jackson's great victory at Chancellorsville and the war's great turning-point with the Union's victory at Gettysburg. Finally, we'll look in depth at Grant's assumption of command in the east and his brilliant "overland campaign" culminating in the siege of Petersburg and the South's surrender at Appomattox. In addition to the emphasis on the military campaign, the social and political events in the east will also be discussed.

October 9-23, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
Elements of a controversial phenomenon that would become rock 'n' roll, and forever alter American and world culture, gathered during the first half of the 20th century. The musical roots- country & western, rhythm & blues, pop, jazz, gospel, and folk-were integral to birth the Big Beat. But other forces-teen culture, politics, business, technology, racism,media and chance, also played roles in rock's development. The Golden Age of Rock was all teen idols, doo wop, and girl groups until 1959, when "the music died." Was this the end of Rock? Join our conversation about how rock became rock.The dates for this course have changed from those published in the catalog. The course will start one week later: Oct. 8, 15 & 22.

October 8-22, 2019, St Andrews Classroom

The Great Depression of the 1930s was the longest period of "hard times" in U.S. history. However, not every family had the same experience. We will cover various personal situations and national trends, as well as events in Kansas, including the Dust Bowl. We'll examine President Hoover's efforts and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. We will also view the New Deal's legacy, including the FDIC and Social Security. Finally,we'll listen to 1930s music and share family stories from this tumultuous era.

October 3-17, 2019, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging

George W. Bush and Donald Trump won recent presidential elections despite getting fewer popular votes than their opponents. They owed their victories to the role of the Electoral College, a unique institution mandated by the American Constitution. Why was the Electoral College included in the Constitution? How did it work initially? How does it work now? What prompted the changes in its functioning over the course of American history? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Can it be eliminated or reformed? What are the leading proposals to change the method by which we select our presidents? This course will address these questions.

November 6-20, 2019, Brewster Place
This course will trace current global issues back to their common source, World War One. The world experienced radical changes between 1914 and 1918 and their impact is still felt today in the fields of politics, economics, science and culture. This course seeks to explain how our current world is still shaped by events that occurred more than a century ago. We will include the stories of K-State's 48 Fallen, the students and faculty from the Kansas StateAgricultural College who gave their lives to the war, adding context to understanding our modern world.

October 2-16, 2019, Meadowlark Hills
Rita Blitt is an international award-winning painter, sculptor and filmmaker whose works are included in many museums and private collections, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, John F. Kennedy Library, National Museum of Singapore, Spencer Museum of Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and now grace the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Through a generous gift of Ms. Blitt, more than 100 pieces of her work are on display across the campus. Join Rita Blitt as she reviews her life and work first in a conversation with her biographer, Connie Gibbons, curator of the Mulvane Museum of Art at Washburn University in Topeka, and then on a tour of selected pieces of her artwork at the Edwards Campus. A reception will follow the tour.The date for this event is Tuesday, Oct. 29, which is a change from the date listed in the catalog.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Regnier Auditorium
One of the leading musical figures in the history of the United States, George Gershwin (1898-1937) combined influences from Tin Pan Alley, classical music, jazz, and blues into a distinctive music style heard in his numerous Broadway musicals, songs for Hollywood films, and concert works like the famous Rhapsody in Blue. This course explores his biography and each aspect of his musical output.

September 17, 2019 to October 1, 2019, St Andrews Classroom
During the mid-19th century, the Underground Railroad was a critical network of routes and safe houses that provided escaped slaves a pathway from plantations in the South to freedom in the North or Canada. In this course, we will closely examine the important role Northeast Kansas played in the Underground Railroad. We'll meet the heroic men and women who risked their lives to aid those desperate fugitives whose only road to freedom ran through Kansas. We'll also meet those brave refugees, hear their stories, and visit the local routes and safe houses that were critical to their perilous journeys to freedom.

October 7-21, 2019, Washburn University Henderson Learning Center
On three historic occasions, there were spirited wars of words before Americans chose between fighting and compromise. Colonists debated if they should remain loyal subjects of England or seek to become an independent nation. After less than a century, Northerners and Southerners wrestled with whether it was possible for our nation to remain half slave and half free. Decades later, U.S. citizens argued about the wisdom of entering or staying out of the Great War in Europe. We will relive these three monumental debates by sampling history-based documentary videos and written comments by participants and scholars.

November 7-21, 2019, Senior Resource Center for Douglas County
History's most destructive war began on September 1, 1939 in Europe, and eventually spread across the world. We'll review the events leading up to the war, the German advances of 1939-1941 and America's subsequent entry into conflict. Then, we'll focus on the titanic struggle in Russia, and the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. The final class will examine the Allies' return to Europe with the D-Day landings, the 1943-1945 Russian counteroffensives, the liberation of Western Europe, and the fall of the Third Reich.

October 30, 2019 to November 13, 2019, Washburn University Henderson Learning Center