Special Programs

In addition to classes and workshops, OLLI offers community programs, special events, lectures and more.

Most events are scheduled here at the Reuter Center and are free and open to everyone • Call 828.251.6140 for additional details.

Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop on Thursday, June 20, 2019, 7-9 p.m.  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". 

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.  If you have internet access and a printer, click here to access a copy of the ACP Short form.  Please print the form, study it, and bring it to the workshop along with any questions you might have for the panel. 

If you have never been admitted to Mission Hospital, but want your advanced directives added to the Mission Medical Record, click here for an “Advance Directive Permission form” to fill out. Also, if you have existing advance directives, you may mail the “Permission Form” along with a copy of your existing Advance Directive to Mission for addition to the Mission medical record (or you can get help doing this at the next ACP workshop).

This workshop is free and open to everyone, adults of all ages.  For more information, call OLLI, 828.251.6140 or email  olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

Back to top

Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of each month, from 7-9 pm, (except for January and July), with an interesting lineup of speakers and topics. OLLI members may attend the club meetings and stargazes, with club members on hand to advise and assist them in the basics of astronomy and the techniques of observing celestial phenomena. Meetings are scheduled for February 7, March 7, 2019. For more information on the Astronomy Club of Asheville, visit their website at www.astroasheville.org

**Please note that the February 7th meeting will not be held at the Reuter Center. It will be held on the UNC Asheville Campus in RRO 125.

The Autumn Players

The Autumn Players (affiliated with Asheville Community Theatre) is a troupe of seasoned actors dedicated to taking the theatre experience into the community. Their words jump from the page with conviction and emotion, and these actors make their stories come to life. Scheduled at 2:30 p.m., in the Reuter Center Manheimer Room, tickets are $7 at the door; mark your calendar for March 31Awake and Sing by Clifford Odets, directed by Arnold Sgan; April 28The Constant Wife by W. Somerset Maugham, directed by Anita Chapman; and June 9Ancestral Voices by A.R. Gurney, directed by RoseLynn Katz.

Behind the Scenes at NC Stage

Go behind the scenes of professional theatre with NC Stage Artistic Director and co-founder Charlie Flynn-McIver.  Explore the themes of this season’s plays, talk with the actors, directors and designers about design concepts and the rehearsal process, and experience a scene or two performed live.  Join us for an insider’s view of how theatre happens!  Free and open to the public, this series is scheduled in the Manheimer Room as follows:  January 25, 1:30 p.m.“Jeeves at Sea”  adapted by Margaret Raether; and  March 15, 1:30 p.m.  For more information on NC Stage, click here to visit their website.

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 close-at-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 from 5:30-8pm, February 10, and March 10, 2019.  For more information please visit: www.cnpa-asheville.org

Back to top

Death Cafe'

“Death Café” is an engaging gathering a storytelling experience holding as conversation. A conversation that too often alienates one in our death phobic culture. A new movement, a shift, is at play in recovering the ritual of being with death through personal storytelling of fears, loss, and death; a deepening ritual emerges and we build a culture of dying wisely. Join us at our next Death Cafe, the new holy ground or common ground and the wonders of being with dying, presented on Fridays, February 15, March 15, and April 19, 2019, 5-6:30 p.m. facilitated by Thirdmessenger’s Karen Sanders, Greg Lathrop, and Sa’id Osio. You can learn more about Death Café by visiting: deathcafe.com/thirdmessenger.com and facebook.com/deathcafeasheville

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

The mission of the Elisha Mitchell chapter of the National Audubon Society is to protect birds and their habitats and to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature. EMAS schedules educational programs on the third Tuesdays of the month, March 19, and April 16, 2019, 7 p.m., at the Reuter Center. Programs are free and open to the public.  Find out more at their website, www.emasnc.org, and plan to join them for the walks and talks. 

Back to top

Fab Fridays Lunch & Learn Lectures

On  Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. during the term, this series of lunch and learn lectures continues to delight and inform. Held in the Manheimer Room, Fab Fridays are free and open to everyone. Purchase lunch in our Reuter Café or bring your own brown bag. End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays. Don’t miss these great programs.

  • February 8, 2019, Solo Agers  More older adults are finding themselves without adult children or other family members for a variety of reasons. Meridith Miller and a panel of "Solo Agers" will discuss the particular challenges and coping strategies that are relevant to them. Meridith Miller has applied her training in geropsychology in a variety of program, policy, research, and clinical settings. After completing doctoral study at Boston College she worked at the National Council on the Aging and other national age-focused associations, the Center on Aging at the University of Miami, and private practice in Rochester Hills, MI.  Dr. Miller chairs OLLI’s Life Transitions committee, teaches, and is a founding member of the Thriving in Community SIG. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.
  • February 15, 2019, Thomas Wolfe: one of America's greatest writers and his link to Wilma Dykeman  Interested in WHY Thomas Wolfe is one of America’s greatest writers? (His novels from the 1920’s and ‘30’s - Look Homeward, Angel; and Of Time and the River were bestsellers and widely praised worldwide, but controversial in the Asheville area.) Interested in the close connection between another Buncombe County native – author Wilma Dykeman - and the Wolfe family? (Wilma Dykeman was a local author of fiction and non-fiction set in the Southern mountains. She was an environmentalist, a historian, a journalist and a teacher. Jim Stokely, Wilma’s son, will answer these questions and will respond to your own questions about Thomas Wolfe and Wilma Dykeman.  Jim was born in Asheville, grew up in Newport, Tennessee, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University.  He began his career as a free-lance writer, but later earned an MBA at Stanford University and recently retired from a 30-year career as a Human Resources professional.  He is President of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy.
  • February 22, 2019, Palliative Care and Hospice Care: Definitions, Differences and Benefits   Palliative Care and Hospice Care have common benefits of comfort and relief but they differ in several ways. This presentation will explore the definitions, and differences between Hospice and Palliative Care including physician practices (who), medications and treatment (what) and facilities and care of patients in (where)  Palliative and Hospice Care.  The clinical course and patient symptoms which may initiate a Palliative Care or Hospice Care consult as well as the physical, mental, social, financial, spiritual and end of life considerations for patients and families as they move through these processes will be discussed.  Speaker Dr. Aditi Sethi-Brown is a hospice and palliative medicine and family physician who currently serves as Assistant Medical Director at the CarePartners/Mission Solace Center, an inpatient Hospice facility in Asheville, NC.  She received her M.D from the Medical College of Georgia in 2008 and completed her post-graduate training in Asheville, NC with MAHEC in 2012.  She is interested in contemplative approaches to death and dying and has a deep passion for the power of sacred sound and healing mantras to reconnect with the mystery of this human experience.  She is the founder of the Center for Conscious Living and Dying which is in development and is engaged with the local ARCHES and Third Messenger communities in Asheville, NC. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.
  • March 29, 2019, The Grove Park Inn - A Place for Presidents, Celebrities and Gingerbread Houses - Becky Blenkitni For over 105 years, The Grove Park Inn has welcomed guests from all over the world. The Inn was built by Edwin Wiley Grove, a pharmacist who amassed a fortune making “Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic.” Attracted to Asheville for its mountain air, Grove wanted to develop a lodge that reflected the grandeur of the surrounding mountains. Built from native granite in less than a year, the Inn hosted some of the world’s most brilliant minds and endured some of America’s greatest hardships since its opening in 1913. It has been named to the National Register of Historic Places and Historic Hotels of America. Becky Blenkitni, the PR and Special Events Coordinator for the Omni Grove Park Inn, will provide an overview of the Inn’s history and explain how it came to be such an iconic hotel.
  • April 5: Balance Improvement Strategies to Avoid Falls – Jason Wingert Almost 25% of people over the age of 65 will have a fall over the course of a year. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, resulting in expensive medical bills and a diminished quality of life. There are, however, a few practical changes to lifestyle, available in evidence-based programs, that can reduce the risk of falls. Jason Wingert, UNC Asheville associate professor of health and wellness promotion, will discuss risk factors for falling, discuss lab findings related to proprioception and offer specific prevention strategies. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

Back to top

Midday Music with Pan Harmonia

Now in its 19th season, Asheville’s Pan Harmonia enjoys taking its music out of the concert hall and into unlikely spaces all around our community. Learn about the music and meet the musicians in informal conversation. Feel free to bring friends and your lunch. To learn more, visit: www.panharmonia.org

 • Friday, February 20, 2019, 12:00 - 2 p.m.  • Midday Music: Join Pan Harmonia musicians, mezzo-soprano Brittnee Siemon, flutist Kate Steinbeck, and pianist Ko Eun Grace Lee for Midday Music. Peek behind-the-scenes in an open working rehearsal as these artists come together to create music for upcoming performances. Guaranteed to be interesting, insightful and humorous. Feel free to bring your lunch and friends.

Back to top

Living with Dementia: Life After a Diagnosis

Offered through the Alzheimer's Association Western Carolina Chapter, Living with Dementia is a series of three two-hour presentations designed for the person who has a recent diagnosis of dementia or is in the early stages of the disease, with the goal to provide answers to the questions about this complex disease.  For more information see the Alzheimer’s Association of Western North Carolina’s website at www.alz.org/northcarolina  Scheduled Fridays, February, 1, 8 and 15, 9:00 - 11:00 am in Reuter Center’s Room 207, the series is free and open to the public.

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? On Friday, March 22, 2019, 10:00 a.m., come to the New Member Welcome to learn about all that OLLI has to offer and about ways to get involved. Meet other members and learn what it means to “grow through life.”

Back to top

New to Medicare Class

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. In partnership with OLLI, a free class will be held on Friday, February 8, 2-4 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 www.coabc.org.   In addition, beginning at 12 p.m., representatives from the Social Security Administration will be available to answer questions about Social Security benefits and Medicare enrollment. They will also provide detailed instructions for accessing the Agency’s online services at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Back to top

OLLI Authors

OLLI Authors is a book talk series designed to recognize the many very talented poetry and prose writers among OLLI members.  OLLI Authors features readings by two published authors. On Thursday, April 4th, 2019, 5:00 p.m. OLLI Memebers will be the featured writers, reading from their works. This series is free and open to the public. Click here to view the OLLI Authors List that reflects books written by OLLI members while members of the OLLI community.

Back to top

Reuter Center Singers Spring Concert

On Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m. the Reuter Center Singers, OLLI's in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, will perform an unforgettable show for their annual Spring Concert. Light refreshments will follow; donations to support the group are welcome.

Back to top

 STEM Lectures

The theme for the upcoming STEM lectures is "STEM Activities on Campus."  These lectures will cover research both performed and in progress by UNC Asheville faculty and OLLI members.  In addition, it will cover faculty's research with students and outreach to the community.  Scheduled at 4:30 p.m. in the Reuter Center, this series is free and open to everyone.

  • Wednesday, March 6, Jim Fox, Director for UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), Community Resilience Related to Climate
  • Thursday, March 21, Jason Wingert, UNCA, Health & Wellness Department, Roadblocks to Student Learning About Evolution - Cognitive and Cultural Challenges -

Back to top

Symphony Talk

Symphony Talks are an entertaining and educational way to hear about the music to be performed at the upcoming Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Masterworks Concerts.  The program begins with a presentation by Chip Kaufmann, who talks about the life and times of the featured composers.  ASO has just selected Darko Butorac as music director, and he will appear with the soloist for upcoming concerts to talk about how the orchestra prepares and to offer ways to listen to the performance. For more information about the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, or to find out how to purchase tickets for performances at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, visit ashevillesymphony.org

  • Friday, February 22, 3 p.m. Zoltan Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, Dvořák’s Violin Concerto with violinist Alexi Kenney. Guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen

Back to top


WNC History Association Lecture

The mission of the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) is the preservation and promotion of the history of Western North Carolina through the care, interpretation, and presentation of the Smith-McDowell House, the education of the public through lectures, exhibitions, publications, and related events and the facilitation of cooperation among regional historical organizations.  A $5 donation is requested at the door (WNCHA members are free).

  • Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m.  – “Child of the Woods: An Appalachian Odyssey” with author Susi Gott Séguret. Join WNCHA and Susi Séguret for the release of her new book Child of the Woods: An Appalachian Odyssey, a collection of short stories and observations of growing up in the natural settings of rural Appalachia. The book is an opportunity to experience nature through the eyes of a true child of the woods. Séguret grew up in Madison County, North Carolina, and honed her culinary skills in France where she studied at the Cordon Bleu and the Université de Reims. As director of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, she is passionate about taste and style, and how they extend from our palate into our daily lives. She has written and edited cookbooks, including Appalachian Appetite.
  • Sunday, March 17, 2 p.m. “Truth in Transit” with filmmaker Rebecca Jones. This presentation includes a screening of the documentary Truth in Transit about Carolina Friends School’s 2015 end-of-year trip through Appalachia’s coal country.  Follow along as this group of students seeks to understand climate change as it relates to mountaintop removal, environmental justice, and Quaker education.  Documentarian Rebecca Jones’s debut feature-length film provides a portrait of the students as they explore coal mines, participate in bluegrass jams, square dance in antique barns and get trained to do non-violent direction action.  This film offers a testament to the transformative powers of experiential education and explores ways that Quaker values and Quaker schools can help us confront the climate crisis.

World Affairs Council

Come to the Reuter Center for these fascinating lectures and discussions that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina's global ties. All events are scheduled in the Manheimer Room, 7:30 p.m. - doors opening at 7 p.m.

February 12 - Mike Duncan: Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics, By Richard Andres. Cyber conflict is a new and continually developing threat, which can include foreign interference in elections, industrial sabotage, and attacks on infrastructure. Russia has been accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and China is highly committed to using cyberspace as a tool of national policy. Dealing with cyber conflict will require new ways of looking at 21st-century warfare. Is the United States prepared to respond to such threats

February 19 - John Plant: The Rise of Populism in Europe, By James Kirchick.  Mass migration, and the problems associated with it, have directly abetted the rise of populist parties in Europe. Opposition to immigration was the prime driver of support for Brexit, it brought a far-right party to the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s, and propelled Marine Le Pen to win a third of the vote in the French presidential election. In addition to calling for stronger borders, however, these parties are invariably illiberal, anti-American, anti-NATO and pro-Kremlin, making their rise a matter of serious concern for the national security interests of the United States.

February 26 - Tom Sanders: The Middle East: Regional Disorder, 
By Lawrence G. Potter.  As the presidency of Donald J. Trump passes the halfway point, the Middle East remains a region in turmoil. The Trump administration has aligned itself with strongmen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which along with Israel have a common goal of frustrating Iranian expansion. What will be the fallout from policy reversals such as withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear accord and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Does the United States see a path forward in troubled states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq? Is the United States headed toward war with Iran?

March 5 - Dot Sulock: Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future? By Ronald J. Bee.  Nuclear weapons have not gone away, and the Trump administration has brought a new urgency, if not a new approach, to dealing with them.  The President has met with Vladimir Putin as the New Start Treaty with Russia comes up for renewal in 2021, the first presidential summit ever with Kim Jong-un occurred to discuss denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump has decertified the Obama nuclear deal with Iran.  To what degree should past nuclear talks guide future U.S. nuclear arms control negotiations?  Can the art of the deal apply to stabilize our nuclear future?

March 12 - Julie Snyder: Decoding U.S.-China Trade, By Jeremy Haft.  Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade.  These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness while swelling China’s.  Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China.  What other tools can the United States employ to counter China’s unfair trade practices?  There are several available, yet they remain mostly unused.

March 19 - Possible "Snow-Day" makeup. 

WAC members and UNCA students admitted without charge.  Single admission, $10.00. Co-sponsored by WAC-WNC, OLLI, & the UNCA Political Science Department. For more details about programs, consult the WAC website.

Back to top