Locations

Eudora

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.


This course contains no sessions
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!


This course contains no sessions
How did Job's useless comforters get it so wrong? This ancient story that predates Judaism struggles to answer the Adversary's question in Job 1:9, essentially asking whether humans can faithfully worship the Almighty apart from the rewards they receive and the punishments they want to avoid. Job debates with his three friends, but the actual struggle is within himself. As the plot develops, the focus shifts from the character of Job to a search for justice. What positive purpose could suffering possibly have? Does God cause suffering? Adonai (God) concludes with a surprising answer from within a whirlwind.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
Just like teens, older adults face big transitions. Hormones, a changing body, shifting relationships and questions of identity, like "Who Am I?" and "What Do I Want?" leave many people uncertain about what comes next. Using personal reflections, small group discussions and engaging activities, you'll rediscover and embrace your aging self, pondering questions such as: What are my attitudes about aging? What are others saying about intimacy, touch and older adults? How does my family impact life decisions including where I live and whom I date? What messages have I received about my body, its strength, beauty and capabilities and what do I believe?


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
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.


This course contains no sessions
In this course we will explore the global climate crisis, discussing potential solutions using the most reliable science. We will delve into what other nations are doing and consider hopeful options. We will discuss certain propaganda that has been used to obscure facts, using the same Big Tobacco lobbyists who fought the true evidence about cancer for decades. The topic has been taught for 18 years at Washburn University and at KU by Dr. Chris Hamilton.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Spanish explorers in search of great riches ventured onto the southern plains in what is now Kansas. Two major expeditions, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and Juan de Oñate, visited the plains in search of Quivira. Both explorers had previously gone to New Mexico looking for Cibola, but were disappointed in the Pueblos there. On the plains they found extensive Indian villages along the Arkansas River growing corn, beans and squash and hunting buffalo. We will examine these and other expeditions to understand the Spanish experience and learn about indigenous people and their contact with Europeans in the early centuries.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
It is only in relatively recent history that we have come to understand that the earth is immensely older than a few thousand years. By careful studies of rock layering and their fossils and minerals, ancient worlds have emerged of seas, forests and deserts. The study of geology has the axiom that "the present is the key to the past." However, the record of the rocks can also tell us something about the future of the planet. In this class we will review some chapters from earth history and examine fossils and rock samples that provide clues to this story.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
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.


This course contains no sessions
A walk down Jayhawk Boulevard is a walk through the history of the University of Kansas. Its buildings are named for chancellors and faculty leaders from its opening day through decades of challenges and changes. In this class we will look at Francis H. Snow, L.L. Dyche, James Green, Erasmus Haworth, Carrie Watson and Frank Strong, among others, and give a special salute to Elizabeth Watkins, who was so generous to KU and its students. Archival photographs will enrich this look at more than 150 years of fascinating people - many of them alumni- and the place they built.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
This class will explore Federico Fellini (1920-1993) who celebrates his 100th birthday this year! Federico was the great "fabulist" of film for whom life was a circus ring of beauty and terror. During week one, we will examine Fellini's roots in "Italian neo-realism" in the late 1940s" (The Miracle, I Vitelloni). Week two will trace his global celebrity in the 1950s and early 1960s (La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2). Week three will continue with the "surreal fantasies" and "erotic dreams" of his later years (Fellini Satyricon, Juliet of the Spirits, Amarcord). We'll also discuss other Fellini-related events in and around the KU campus.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
This course will review the long struggle for women's participation in the public sphere from the early suffrage leaders to the historic 2016 presidential race. Along the way, participants will be introduced to some lesser-known leaders for women's suffrage and political rights, especially those in Kansas, and will learn more about famous figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt. Along with reviewing some of their famous speeches and petitions, videos from documentaries and Hollywood productions will also be used to bring the women to life.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
The Spencer Research Library's collection of manuscripts and early printed books is a hidden jewel on the KU campus. Its rare objects include Egyptian papyrus scrolls, Sumerian clay tablets, hand-written and decorated medieval books and folia and early printed books. Join us for a look at works from this fascinating collection, where we'll consider the materials and methods used for creating them. Hundreds of hours of hand cramps and backaches produced these prized works until the need for faster production caused printing to eclipse its handmade predecessor. For the first two weeks, we'll meet at the Osher St. Andrews campus. The last session will be held at the Spencer Research Library for an illuminating "eyes-on" viewing some wonderful pieces in their collection. Transportation will be provided to the Spencer Research Library.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
A well-kept secret, Kansas City was known as the "Adoption Hub of America" in the early- to mid-1900s. Fearing ostracism from society, young women would be sent to live in one of several homes for unwed mothers, deliver their babies, place them for adoption and return home heartbroken. This course will share the reunion of a mother and daughter 66 years after being separated at birth at the Willows Maternity Sanitarium. We will delve into the history of the Willows and dozens of other maternity homes that brought more than 100,000 young women shrouded in secrecy to Kansas City.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
This course will review a selection of motion pictures that have forever transformed our world. Some of them, like The Birth of a Nation (1915), threw a racist bomb into contemporary politics; others, like Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Fritz Lang's Metropolis, expanded our vision of the future. Still others, like the work of Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney, used comedy and animation to deliver satiric jabs at our popular culture. The medium of the motion picture itself has been radically transformed by experiments in storytelling by filmmakers like Ken Burns, in his documentaries about the Civil War, jazz and baseball


This course contains no sessions
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.


This course contains no sessions
John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are notorious for their assassinations, but who were Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz, and why did they murder Presidents Garfield and McKinley? There have been 28 documented assassination attempts on 22 sitting or former presidents or presidents-elect. In Milwaukee, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest, but finished his campaign speech. In Miami, Guiseppe Zangara fired five shots at FDR, but killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. And we'll discuss attempts to assassinate Presidents Obama and Trump. We'll uncover them all and closely examine the men...and women...who killed (or tried to kill) the president of the United States.




This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
This course examines the origins and geographical diffusion of the three most popular caffeine drinks. Although containing the most widely used psychoactive drug, these drinks are seemingly so innocuous they are sold without legal age restrictions and with limited regulations worldwide, yet they have left a legacy of cultural and environmental destruction in the wake of their widespread adoption during the process of globalization. For example, we will learn of the role of tea in the Opium Wars of China, coffee's contribution to slavery in the Americas and the detrimental health effects of sugar in sodas-or "pop" if you are from Kansas. This course can be taken independently of the previous "Six Drinks" course on wine, beer and spirits, the alcohol drinks that changed the world.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
The Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers and the Great Lakes are rich in history, tall tales and music. Come learn how canal boats, steamboats, tugs and barges, plus Great Lakes freighters played a major role in U.S. territorial and economic expansion. We will review the Steamboat Arabia, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and more. The grandson of a Great Lakes sailor, the instructor has visited the Great Lakes and rivers covered in the class and shares photos from his own collection, as well as film of large, modern vessels.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
Rock 'n' Roll didn't die in 1959 (whew!), but rockers were exploring new avenues of expression as well as new markets. The songs of Jerry Lee, Fats, Chuck, Buddy and Richard were now honored "oldies" and rock was firmly established as the official teenage soundtrack. Rock 'n' Roll morphed into new forms of what would now be called "Rock" music. These would include Motown, with its girl and guy groups; Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound;" surf music; "authentic" folk music; soul; folk rock; blues by Brits; and re-energized pop music. We will consider the first half of the 1960s music scene as a transitional time until the next Elvis appeared as Mop Tops bringing the First British Invasion to America. Join our conversation about how rock adapted to changing times.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions
We will relive one of the most spectacular journeys in American history, the Lewis and Clark "Corps of Discovery" expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. This exciting human drama, which lasted from 1804 to 1806, began in St. Louis, reached the Pacific Northwest, and then returned, adding to our knowledge of the region while generating stories and adventures. We will view the beautifully produced Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan PBS video, listen to music played during or inspired by the trip, and read brief commentaries of trip participants and observers.


This course contains no sessions
Almost 3,000 years old, but still as current as the morning news, the Psalter has enticed generations into an exploration of its spiritual and secular depths. As history, the psalms reveal a people searching for a homeland, for a psychic identity, and for internal and national peace. As literature, they invite readers to examine the poetic power of parallel construction and perhaps to try their own hand at writing such personal verse. As windows into the human heart, they capture our lives, from the sadness of war and exile to the everyday experiences of relationships, worries, and work.This course has been cancelled.


This course contains no sessions
We will examine the early battles in the neutral Border States and the war along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. We'll consider the tactical and strategic advance of Ulysses Grant and William T. Sherman during the first two years of the war. The second session will survey the war along the Mississippi River in 1863 and the capture of Vicksburg, which split the Confederacy and denied the South important Texas resources. The final class will focus on the battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Atlanta and Sherman's march through Georgia. We'll also look at the home front and the war's effect on the civilian populations.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions

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.



This course contains no sessions
The five million acres of the Flint Hills are all that remain of a 150-million-acre tallgrass prairie that once extended from Canada to Texas and east to Indiana. Ranching culture here differs from that in the rest of the ranching West, partly from seasonal grazing (which can put nearly four pounds per day on transient cattle), partly from the annual spring prairie fires and partly from a mix of farming and ranching. The folk culture of the Flint Hills is rich, from tales of world champion rodeo cowboys, to stories of bootleggers, to legends of murders and bank robberies.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
Fifty years ago a young Yale Law School professor named Charles Reich published a book that was to become one of the intellectual foundations of the world as we know it today. At the time he published the book, Reich was best known for his article on the "new property," a brilliant extension of traditional property law jurisprudence. But in the "Greening of America" Reich reached out to the general public and became a spokesman for the generation that was to dominate the American scene for decades and to change the way we view the world. Although Reich died in June 2019 his work lives on. In this course we will read "The Greening of America" in the light of the past half-century and attempt to understand its importance not only historically, but for the next half-century to come.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
Many remarkable Lawrence suffragists worked tirelessly to win women's right to vote and to run for local and state offices over five Kansas campaigns from 1854 to 1912. They organized suffrage societies, signed petitions, voted in municipal elections, lobbied state legislators, and ran for state offices. In the book, History of Woman Suffrage, Susan B. Anthony "often said that Lawrence was the headquarters of the movement" in Kansas. Based on the words of these suffragists published in newspapers, we'll consider how their persuasive arguments and political strategies still resonate today. Come celebrate their legacies during the Centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.This event has been cancelled.


This course contains no sessions
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.


This course contains no sessions
The stakes are high, the politics intense. Social Security provides Americans with financial protection against some risks of life, paying benefits to millions of retired and disabled workers and their families and to families of deceased workers. Nearly all workers and employers contribute. In Kansas alone, there are half-a-million child, adult and elderly beneficiaries. The program had its last makeover in 1983 and it is due for another if it is to serve the generations of the 21st century. Reform proposals are controversial, caught up in larger struggles about the role of government in American life. Will the fixes for Social Security mend it, end it or expand it?


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
The North American Tallgrass Prairie is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. Less than four percent of the original prairie still exists and most of that is in eastern Kansas. This course will increase our appreciation of what we have here. We will explore the geologic and climatic factors that created the prairie and discuss key inhabitants, from bison to butterflies to meadowlarks. We even discuss the first humans and indigenous tribes! Prairie remnants, starting with the long struggle to establish the National Prairie Preserve, are examined. A brief review of prairie-inspired literature concludes this course.


This course contains no sessions
Click here to be notified about the next scheduled program.
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.


This course contains no sessions