Courses & Events

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. We rely on financial support from our members and the community to create a sustainable program. If you would like to support the Osher Institute, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or Thank you.

April 17, 2021 to August 13, 2021
This course examines the changes in White House speechwriting, from the earliest ghostwriters in George Washington's administration to contemporary presidential speechwriters. We will examine speechwriting drafts from Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and George H. W. Bush as well as speech files from Lady Bird Johnson and Barbara Bush. Video and audio clips from former White House speechwriters describing the process will be included. We'll view speechwriters' drafts and the final products in both written and video formats. This course is only available to Brandon Woods residents. 

INSTRUCTOR BIO: Diana Carlin, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Communication at Saint Louis University and a retired professor of Communication Studies at KU. She has co-authored a book on gender and politics and taught courses on women as political leaders, the rhetoric of women's rights and communication and gender.

June 3-17, 2021, Brandon Woods Smith Center (Lawrence, KS)
When Reconstruction ended in 1877, the federal troops occupying the "unredeemed" Southern states were withdrawn, unleashing racial violence by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the White League.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.

INSTRUCTOR BIO: Jim Peters, J.D., is director emeritus of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU and author of "Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. He also teaches a course on the Underground Railroad in Northeast Kansas.

June 24, 2021 to July 8, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas offers noncredit short courses and special events developed especially for folks over 50. Give the gift of learning through an Osher Gift Certificate which enables the recipient to attend one Osher course for free! Our courses are taught two hours each week for three weeks. To give someone an Osher Gift Certificate, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or

April 15, 2021 to August 13, 2021
Larger than the U.S. (with one-tenth the population), and a major destination for tourists from the south, Canada is our closest friend and ally. For many Americans, however, it's also a land of mystery and confusion. How much do you really know about the history, geography and culture of our giant neighbor? French is an official language, the system of government is British, and the first settlers were Vikings. It's an independent country, but loyal to the "Crown" (and Harry and Meghan's new home!). This course is your "far and wide" introduction to Canada, and an invitation to explore "the True North strong and free." 

Instructor Bio: Kevin Boatwright is emeritus director of external affairs in the KU Office of Research. He has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degrees in journalism, history and higher education administration. He studied Canadian history at the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Manitoba, and is a past president of the Midwest Association for Canadian Studies.

June 28, 2021 to July 19, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)