Skip to content
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  

Special Programs

Most events are free and open to the public • Call 828.251.6140 for additional details.Bob and Dottie Davis arrive at Center

Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 7-9 p.m. at the Reuter Center.

The workshop will feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. Discussion will include communicating your treatment wishes to loved ones and to medical personnel, ethical and legal issues, and the uses of advance directives.  Ample time will be reserved for questions. Assistance will be provided for anyone wishing to complete a legally valid advance directive, including the notarization required in North Carolina, using the NC ACP "Short Form".  Click here to access a copy of the form.

Preparation for you to do before the workshop:  Talk to your possible "power of attorney for healthcare", the person who would make health care decisions if you are unable.  Click here for a video of a sample conversation, starring OLLI member Mary Campbell and Aruna Josyula, one of our panelists.  If you have internet-access, print the NC ACP "Short Form", study it and write down any questions you might have for the panel.  This workshop is free and open to the public.  For more information, email the workshop coordinators, David Mouw MD,PhD and  Mary Campbell  BSN, COHN-S  at:  or call OLLI at 828-251-6140 or email olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

Back to top

Asheville Community Theatre’s Readers Theater

The Autumn Players (part of Asheville Community Theatre) is a troupe of seasoned actors dedicated to taking the theatre experience into the community. Readings of great literature by experienced performers can spark deep understanding and kindle lasting interest. As words jump from the page with conviction and emotion, stories come to life. Tickets are $6 at the door.  For more information on the Autumn Players, click here. 

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015: Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones, directed by Andy Reed. One reviewer praises the play as “rich, original, funny and touching with characters you come to care about.”

Back to top

Asheville Living Treasures

Asheville Living Treasures (ALT) is an organization whose mission is to honor the elders of Asheville and Buncombe County who have devoted their lives to making our communities a better place to live. ALT publicly honors older adults, celebrates their achievements, and records their stories for future generations. Any senior, age 70 and above, who resides in Asheville or Buncombe County is eligible for nomination. ALT will hold a recognition ceremony honoring the Treasures at the Reuter Center on Sunday, May 31, 2015, 1:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend. For more information visit or contact, Carmen Ramos-Kennedy: 828-423-6476.

Back to top

Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of most months from 7 p.m., with an interesting lineup of speakers and topics. Please note that there will be no meeting in January. OLLI members may attend the club meetings and star gazes; club members will be on hand to advise and assist in the basics of astronomy and the techniques of observing celestial phenomena. Participation at club meetings and events is free to OLLI members. For more information on the Astronomy Club of Asheville, visit their website at  Meetings scheduled as follows: March 5,  (meeting canceled),  April 2 (speaker and topic TBA), and May 7 (speaker and topic TBA)

Back to top

Blue Ridge Orchestra

The Blue Ridge Orchestra is dedicated to making fine orchestral music more accessible to more audiences. Led by Music Director Milton Crotts, this orchestra is composed of more than seventy musicians who reside in Western North Carolina. There is plenty of talent in these mountains, and this orchestra’s sound is truly symphonic. Wednesday rehearsals in the Manheimer Room are open to OLLI members, who are particularly encouraged to drop by rehearsals immediately before concert dates. Rehearsals will take place Wednesdays, March 4, April 8, 15, 22, 29, and May 6, 2015, 7 p.m. Details at Back to top

Brevard Music Center Sunday Concerts

OLLI now has a partnership with historic Brevard Music Center, a longstanding summer training program and festival. The Brevard Music Center Concerts series will include hour-long solo and chamber recitals by members of the Brevard Music Center’s faculty, held at the Reuter Center. Concerts are free and open to the public. The performance dates are as follows: Wednesday, March 4, 3 pm: Cellist Alistair MacRae and soprano Allison Pohl;  Sunday, April 5, 3 pm: Violinist Jason Posnock; Sunday, May 3, 3 pm: Clarinetist Steve Cohen and Pianist Kay Kim  For more information visit the Brevard Music Center website at

Back to top

The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association

The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) was founded in 1992 to promote nature photography in the Carolinas, to help conserve and preserve the diverse natural ecosystems in the Carolinas, and to educate others interested in nature and wildlife photography. The association is divided into regions for more closeat-hand activities. The CNPA-Asheville Region’s goal is to develop a group that will more fully experience the beauty of Western North Carolina through photography. Activities in the Asheville region include monthly meetings, photo outings, seminars, workshops, exhibits, photo contests, and image critiques. The monthly meetings are held at the Reuter Center on the second Sunday of each month. Sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. with a meet and greet; meetings begin at 6 p.m. For more information please go to:  Meetings are scheduled as follows April 12, May 10, June 14-Special speaker, Clay Bolt presenting "The Dance: A Look at the Interwoven Lives of Pollinators, Plants, and Predators".
Back to top

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

The Elisha Mitchell chapter of the Audubon Society (EMAS) was formed in 1986 with a mission to promote birding and an appreciation of all nature, and to preserve wildlife and natural ecosystems. The chapter spearheaded an effort to preserve a  lakefront property and now owns and manages it as the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. EMAS offers free educational programs on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 pm and leads bird walks at the Sanctuary on the first Saturday of the month. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us!

  • March 17, 2015: Bob Cherry, chief biologist of the Blue Ridge Parkway, will present a program on wildlife of the Parkway lands.
  • April 21, 2015: Heather Hahn, executive director of North Carolina Audubon, will speak on recent Audubon initiatives.
  • May 19, 2015: Members of the American Bird Conservancy will showcase their inspiring bird conservation efforts in the US and the Americas.

Back to top

Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar

Following on the enthusiastic reception to the fall series of three lectures in the Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar series on Jewish life in Germany between the world wars, three free public lectures on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. in April, convened in the Manheimer Room of the Reuter Center in the UNC-A campus will complete the series.

  • April 7, 2015 - Northwestern University professor Peter Fenves will recount the days of "Einstein in Berlin," sharing his insights into how and why the famous theoretical physicist was not only a radically independent scientific thinker but a courageous social activist who condemned the rise of German militarism and championed the rights of Jews in Europe and their quest for a homeland in Palestine.
  • April 21, 2015 - University of British Columbia (Canada) professor Markus Hallensleben will explain why expressionist artist and writer, Else Lasker-Schüler, was "The Poet of Crossing Boundaries." Noted for her gender-defying costumes and avant-garde literary style, the long-forgotten Lasker-Schüler is being rediscovered in light of new scholarship.
  • April 28, , 2015 - Dr. Claire Sufrin, theologian and religious studies scholar from Northwestern University will delve into the life and work of "Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist." Famous the world over for his I-Thou philosophy, Buber, along with his collaborator Franz Rosenzweig, fostered a personal encounter with Judaism through philosophy, biblical interpretation and new forms of adult pedagogy.

The yearlong series is sponsored by the UNC-Asheville Center for Jewish Studies and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Dr. Fenves' presentation is the annual Phyllis Freed Sollod Memorial Lecture.  Dr. Hallensleben's talk is sponsored by the generosity of the Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund.

Back to top

Fab Fridays Lunch & Learn Lectures

You are invited to enjoy stimulating presentations and dynamic question-and-answer sessions from local experts, about everything from music to travel and medications to wellness. End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays!  This series is organized by the Health Education Series Committee and the Lunch and Learn Committee.  Fridays, 11:30 a.m., Reuter Center Manheimer Room.  Free and open to the public.

  • March 27, 2015: Antibiotics  by Jacie Volkman.  Can you imagine a world without antibiotics; where people die of urinary tract infections, sinus infections or complications from simple surgeries? Modern-day bacteria have learned how to outsmart antibiotics, the only weapons we have to fight them. Multi-drug resistant organisms, also known as super bugs, have the capacity to overtake chronic disease as the leading cause of mortality. How can we protect ourselves? Come learn about what you can do to help stop this fast moving train. Jacie Volkman, MPH, CIC, is the director of infection prevention at Mission Health System and the owner of Safe Patient Surveys, an infection prevention consulting company. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control and Epidemiology. This presentation is part of the Health Education Series.
  • April 3, 2015: Finding the Emeralds in Our Own Backyard by George Briggs. Plans for a new arboretum emerged in Western North Carolina during the 1980s, almost one hundred years after Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned the world’s finest research arboretum within the Biltmore Estate. At the same time, the furniture, tobacco, textile, and manufacturing sectors of our region’s economy were all declining. Since it was created twenty-eight years ago, the leadership of the North Carolina Arboretum has interpreted and celebrated landscape architecture in the Southern Appalachians and has helped to form place-based economic strategies. As a public garden, the Arboretum now attracts about 500,000 visitors annually and conducts a broad portfolio of educational offerings. As importantly, it helps to nurture the leveraging of local resources and capabilities into economic and community progress. George Briggs, a member of the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects, has been the Executive Director of the Arboretum since 1987.
  • April 10, 2015: Integrative Medicine by Brian Lewis. Would you believe that 75% of our health expenses are avoidable and that lifestyle interventions could save $3 trillion annually in the US, while simultaneously improving both our communities and the environment? New research demonstrates that simple, personalized programs can reverse disease previously thought incurable, and also promote longevity. Woven into daily routines, these practical approaches help you create a fulfilling life at any age. Please attend this interactive session where Brian Lewis, MD, MPH, from Integrative Family Medicine of Asheville will explain the research and building blocks of these programs. You will leave with an understanding of how to create such a lifestyle program for yourself. This presentation is part of the Health Education Series.
  • April 24, 2015: Africa: A Photo Journey by Bob and Ulana Mellor, OLLI members and retired software designers and developers, have enjoyed taking nature-oriented photographic and educational trips around the world for over thirty years. During the winter of 2014 they spent three weeks fulfilling a twenty-five year desire to participate in an African safari photographing the wildlife of Kenya and Tanzania with a small group of like-minded people. Their slide presentation will highlight images of the different species and behaviors they saw, what a typical safari day was like, a Maasai village visit, and some of the planning required for such an adventure.
  • May 1, 2015: Statins: Friend or Foe? by Tasha Woodall.  High cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, is common in older Americans, and statins are the most prescribed medications used to treat this problem. Latest cholesterol guidelines are prompting a significant shift in the way we use these medications; twenty-five million Americans use statins currently, and guidelines would indicate that more than twice that number are actually eligible to be on one, including nearly all men older than 60! This session by Tasha Woodall, associate director of pharmacotherapy at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) Family Medicine, will explore the pros and cons of statin use and encourage an open dialogue to address any specific questions or concerns. This presentation is part of the Health Education Series.
  • May 8, 2015: What Has the Supreme Court Wrought? by Carl Peterson. The outcome of opinions issued by the United States Supreme Court from the controversies presented to it has a tremendous impact on the lives of each and every person in this country. Judge Carl Peterson will assess the potential impact, of significant opinions that were published by the US Supreme Court in the October 2013-2014 term and in the current term to date. The discussion will include the controversies that remain pending and will likely be resolved by the Court by the end of the session in June 2015. Carl Peterson is a retired trial judge with experience as a prosecutor, twenty years as a practicing lawyer, and twenty years on the trial bench. He has provided numerous classes and seminars on the US Supreme Court and landmark cases decided by this court.
  • May 15, 2015: Lungs in Health and Disease, Part II by David Mouw.  After a brief review of Part I (delivered as a Fab Friday lecture in Fall 2014), you will learn about additional lung functions and related diseases. Why does heart disease make your lungs gurgle? What’s so difficult about transporting oxygen? Why are there normally soap bubbles in the lungs? How can deep breathing cause fainting? What causes lungs to collapse? Which productive coughs require antibiotics? Why does a person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have large lungs but diminished lung function? David Mouw, PhD (human physiology), MD (family practice) with Added Qualification in Geriatrics, has given ten previous Health Education Series lectures and regularly uses the audience response system. This presentation is part of the Health Education Series.

 Back to top

f/32 Photography

f/32 is a diverse group that shares an appreciation and love of photography. Members range from amateurs who like to take point-and-shoot snapshots to working professional photographers. At monthly meetings, they share their work, learn new methods, and keep abreast of the latest industry news and equipment. OLLI members are offered free membership in f/32. Attend on Wednesdays,  March 11, April 8, May 13, 2015; meet and greet at 6:30 p.m., meetings begin at 7 p.m.

Back to top

Human Hearing Lecture

Human Hearing: The Science and Innovations in Technology to Enhance Performance.  In this lecture scheduled for Thursday, April 30 2015, 7 p.m. (originally scheduled on April 16, 2015), Dr. Beth Fountain, AuD, and Dr. Perry Sprawls, PhD, will begin with a brief review of the physics and characteristics of sound and the role it plays in human communications, including frequency, loudness, noise, and environmental conditions. They will then conduct an illustrated discussion of the human hearing process and limitations that can develop, including the effects of aging. An emphasis will be placed on the many innovations in technology that can enhance and optimize hearing, addressing various personal limitations and environmental conditions. This lecture is presented by the WNC IEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) and is free and open to the public

Back to top

Meeting Mozart Lecture

As a part of the Asheville Amadeus Festival, in cooperation with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO), OLLI is hosting two sessions of a lecture titled “Meeting Mozart: His Life and Music.” Learn about Mozart through analysis of historical background, lively discussion and performances by ASO guest musicians led by Alicia Chapman, ASO oboist and lecturer. Scheduled in the Manheimer Room for Wednesday, March 18, 2015, attend either the 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. session or the 2 - 4 p.m. session. Free and open to the public.

New to Medicare?

Are you new to Medicare? Are you confused by the many choices? Unbiased and accurate information is available from trained volunteers from the North Carolina Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). In partnership with OLLI, a free class will be held on Friday, April 10, 2015, 2 p.m. in the Reuter Center. The class will provide important information to assist you in understanding how Medicare works and what you need to do to obtain benefits and save money. Spaces are limited, so reserve your space by registering online at or calling the Council on Aging, 828-277-8288. 

Back to top

New Member Welcome

Are you new to OLLI at UNC Asheville and the Reuter Center? Are you returning after being gone awhile? Come to the New Member Welcome on Friday, March 20, 2015, 10 a.m., to learn about all that OLLI has to offer and about ways to get involved. Meet other members and get answers. 

OLLI Town Hall Meeting

Please join us Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 4:30 p.m. in the Manheimer Room for our annual Town Hall meeting. We’ll hit the past year’s highlights including member survey results and accomplishments from our OLLI programs and activities. The Nominating Committee will introduce the 2015-2016 slate of candidates. Light refreshments will be served. You are encouraged to bring your questions for our staff and Steering Council.

Back to top

Opera Talk

Asheville Lyric Opera (ALO) brings great stories and music to life on Asheville’s premiere theatrical stage, the Diana Wortham Theatre. Come enjoy a behind the scenes journey as ALO General Director David Craig Starkey and a cast of industry professionals guide you through their operatic world. Mark your calendar to attend these lively and informative musical presentations. Scheduled in the Manheimer Room to begin at 3 p.m., these lectures are free and open to the public.

  • Friday, March 13 2015: "Impresario plus More!" This lecture focusing on the Asheville Amadeus Festival, will include highlights from the festival and ALO’s upcoming production of Mozart’s Impresario.
  • Friday, April 10, 2015: "Guest Artists Talk About Performing in West Side Story" Performers, directors, and those who work behind the scenes of ALO’s spring production, West Side Story, will be the special guests for this lecture.
  • Friday, May 15, 2015: "How Can Anybody Sing?" This lecture will include a discussion of the differences between singing professionally and singing for pleasure. 

Back to top

Reuter Center Singers Concerts

The Reuter Center Singers, OLLI’s in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, study and perform classical, popular, show tunes and other favorites and perform regionally. Mark your calendar and plan to attend their popular Spring Concert on Friday, May 1, 7 pm or Saturday, May 2, 3 pm, for a program featuring the music of the Beach Boys and the Beatles. Join us to relive hits of the ‘60s. These concerts are free and open to the public. Donations at the door are welcome.

Back to top

Smart Driver Classes

This four-hour Smart Driver class offers numerous tips for coping with inevitable changes in perception and reaction time, as well as increased hazards on the roads with faster cars and busier traffic. Participants can expect to review the rules of the road, tips on dealing with aggressive drivers, and general safety tips such as how to make left turns into heavy
traffic. The course, offered nationwide, is designed to help participants avoid crashes and remain safely behind the wheel. Contact instructor Jan Stephanides, 828-443-1051 to register for either class: Friday, April 24, 1-5 pm or Friday, May 1, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm. Content is identical in the two sessions. The cost is $20 or $15 for AARP members, payable to the instructor.

STEM Lecture Series

The STEM Lecture Series is interdisciplinary, with a focus on science,technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The upcoming lectures for winter term are designed around the theme of new developments in STEM disciplines. These lectures are scheduled from 4:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Upcoming lectures are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015 (rescheduled from February 19, 2015), “New Developments in Digital Dentistry” by Dr. Mark Knollman, dentist. 
  • Tuesday, April 2, 2015, canceled
  • Thursday, April 9, 2015,   "New Developments in Our Understanding of Brain Structure and Function" by Dr. Don Martin, retired chemist.

Back to top

Symphony Talk with Daniel Meyer

The best way to enjoy the Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks Concerts is to come on Fridays at 3 p.m. to the Symphony Talk for the inside scoop on the music, composers, and soloists. Come early to get a seat; this popular series is very well attended. Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor Daniel Meyer will speak about the performance for the next evening’s concert and local music aficionado Chip Kaufmann will speak about the composers. Symphony Talks are free and open to the public. Upcoming talks include:

  • February 13, 2015: Pianist Jeremy Denk to talk about Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Zhou Tian’s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8.
  • Friday, May 8, 2015: Music to be discussed includes Debussy’s Rhapsodie, Ellington’s Black, Brown, and Beige, Milhaud’s
    Scaramouche, and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. Saxophonist Joe Luloff will perform.

Visit the Asheville Symphony Orchestra website for more information or for tickets. 

Back to top

World Affairs Council

Come to the Reuter Center for fascinating lectures and discussions presented by the World Affairs Council (WAC) that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina’s global ties. OLLI members receive a discount on WAC annual membership fee.

WAC will offer their popular Great Decisions Series in February and March with topics that range from political Islam in Africa to China's foreign policy, from energy independence to economic statecraft and trade, and the defense and the rise of new technologies to food security and climate change.  Meetings are scheduled for Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., as follows, February 10, 2015:  “Brazil's Metamorphosis”  by  Liliana Castro, Buncombe County School System; February 17, 2015: “Privacy in the Digital Age” by Jagdeep Bhandari,  Mars Hill University; February 24, 2015 THIS LECTURE HAS BEEN MOVED TO MONDAY, APRIL 6, 7:30PM:  “Russia and the Near Abroad”  by Steve Solnick, Warren Wilson College; March 3, 2015:  “ India Changes Course” by , Keya Maitra, UNC Asheville; March 10, 2015: “Sectarianism in the Middle East” by  David Hudleson, National Security Agency.   For more details about programs, consult the WAC website.

Back to top

Last edited by on April 3, 2015