Special Programs - NOTICE - Until further notice, special events will occur virtually

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

Currently our special events programming has been moved online or postponed until further notice. Please watch the OLLI at UNC Asheville Observer or contact us at olli@unca.edu for more information.


Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville regularly holds an advance care planning (ACP) workshops Stay tuned for the next date!  Workshops feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. The 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. 

Here’s how to have your Advanced Directive (AD) added to the Mission Medical Record. Click here for a permission form; if you have not been a patient at Mission, fill it out. Get a copy of the notarized AD and a completed permission form (if needed) to Advance Care Planning at Mission by one of the following options: either ask a Mission representative at a workshop to do it, or, use the information at the bottom of the permission form to transmit the forms, by mail, fax, or email attachments.

The workshop will take place in the Reuter Center on the UNCA campus, at the north end of the campus map (Click here to see map). This workshop is free and open to everyone, adults of all ages. Co-sponsored by OLLI and Mission Health Partners. For more information, call OLLI, 828.251.6140 or email  olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   


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Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of each month, from 7- 9 p.m., (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 currently all virtual.

  • Thursday, December 3, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

    • ​The Great Filter: Obstacles to the Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations – presented by Robin Hanson, Ph.D., George Mason University
    • Please click here to visit the website for a link to this program.

For more information on the Astronomy Club of Asheville, visit their website at www.astroasheville.org


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 when we meet face-to-face.  This ongoing series is currently postponed until further notice. For more information on NC Stage, click here to visit their website.

Check Back for Virtual Programming with NC Stage


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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 usually held at the Reuter Center on the second Sunday of each month from 5:30-8 p.m. 


For more information please visit: http://www.cnpa.org/regions/asheville/


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Death Cafe'

“Death Café” is an engaging gathering with storytelling and conversation about a topic that too often alienates people in our death-phobic culture. At Death Café participants break into small groups of five or six people and discuss personal stories related to the death of loved ones, loss of jobs, relationships or marriages, or loss or death of parts of ourselves. These programs are faclitate by Karen Sanders, Greg Lathrop, and Said Osio from Third Messenger. All programming is currently virtual.

  • No Meeting in November
  • Friday, December 18, 5-6:30 p.m.

    • Registration info coming soon

You can learn more about Death Café by visiting: deathcafe.com/thirdmessenger.com and facebook.com/deathcafeasheville


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Blue Ridge Audubon Society

 The Blue Ridge chapter of the National Audubon Society has a mission to protect birds and their habitats and to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature. Blue Ridge Audubon Society schedules educational programs on the third Tuesdays of the month, at the Reuter Center when we are face-to-face, and for now online only. Programs are free and open to everyone.  Find out more at their website, www.emasnc.org.

  • Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 p.m. Conserving the Peruvian Rainforest: Birds and Indigenous Cultures with Seth Buddy

In Northeastern Peru, an indigenous people called the Maijuna are defying odds in striving to preserve their culture and their land.  In the early 2000’s, illegal logging and poaching on their ancestral lands had driven the Maijuna to the brink of starvation and cultural collapse. By 2015, they had successfully kicked the loggers off their land and worked to officially protect nearly one million acres of primary rainforest in a conservation area. The Maijuna communities and the affected rainforest are rebounding together, and multiple species—including birds—are repopulating what was thought to be an irretrievable “ghost forest”. Please join us to hear this tale of an indigenous community on the forefront of successful sustainability and conservation programs in the most biodiverse region on our planet. Visit the Blue Ridge Audubon Facebook Page to watch live on 11/17

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Inclusion Committee's Online Series on Racial Disparity

OLLI's Inclusion Committee has designed a webinar series focusing on four major areas reflecting racial disparity in our community. The presentation of the series is an effort to raise awareness and to inspire personal engagement and advocacy.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the historic and current inequities created by systemic racism have been illuminated. The disproportionate impact on communities of color are strikingly visible in the following areas: healthcare, criminal justice, education, and economics.

Each session in the series will include participation by local leaders, professionals and Asheville/Buncombe community members in their respective roles engaged in addressing these issues. The format will allow for a discussion and a question and answer follow up.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 1 p.m.: Dr. Sharon West, RN, will present a talk on "Cultural Humility." Dr. West is an international speaker and published author focusing on culturally appropriate approaches to medical care and healthcare disparities. Among her many professional achievements and positions Dr. West serves as an appointee by Governor Cooper on the NC Commission of Public Health as well as the North Carolina Minority Health Council.

  • Tuesday,  August 18, 1 p.m. Dr. Ameena Batada, Associate Professor of Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville, Je'wana Grier-McEachin, Executive Director of the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) and Jill Fromewick, Social Epidemiologist and Research Scientist at MAHEC. These participants will discuss structural racism, introduce the details of their study of the influence of structural racism on healthcare in WNC. This panel will be available for follow up discussion and questions.

  • Thursday, August 27, 3 p.m. Criminal Justice Disparity: Session three will be moderated by OLLI member Curry First and include Asheville Buncombe County D.A.Todd Williams, City Manager Debra Campbell and Public Defender LeAnn Melton.

  • Wednesday, September 16, 4 p.m. Education Disparity: This session will feature professional educators and education advocates including Nicole Cush, Principal, School of Inquiry and Life Science of Asheville (SILSA), Jesse Pitts, Counselor at Asheville Middle School, Tsianina Tovar, ESL teacher for Buncombe County Schools and Buffy Fowler, Operations Coordinator at Francine Delaney New School.

    • Recording available soon


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 (Currently online only) Fab Fridays are free and open to everyone. End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays. Don’t miss these great programs.

  • October 2: Dying at Home: Considerations, Resources, Legalities, Physician, Hospice, and Dying Doula Services, After Dying Care andGreen Burials: How is a dying at home request initiated, who cares for the dying at home, is an MD order required, what resources are required, what is the role of a Dying Doula, how many Dying Doulas are there in Asheville, how do you contact a Dying Doula, do you need several to take care of one dying patient, are dying doulas paid and if so, how much or is payment given by the family as an offering, what is the suggested offering for a Dying doula, what happens to the patient when they die, what is dying after care and who handles that, what does lying in state mean, is this legal in NC, where do patients lie in state, how long do they lie instate, how long does this occur before decomposing occurs, are patients placed in shrouds, where are they purchased or who makes them, who decorates them and what do you put on these shrouds, how is someone transported to a cemetery or to a green burial site or the crematorium? What is a green burial site? And many other questions."

  • October 9: Showing the Blue Ridge Parkway Some Love: Learn about an organization that supports the National Park Service (NPS) in protecting and preserving the Parkway in this era of tight funding constraints.  Carolyn Ward is CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, headquartered here in Asheville, and will share her passion for the Parkway and her vision for its future. The Foundation is a close nonprofit ally of the NPS enabling numerous projects such as: the operation of the Blue Ridge Music Center in Virginia; the renovation of the Moses Cone house; and clearing overgrown scenic overlooks.  A Foundation program to engage children to enjoy our parks, fostering the next generation of advocates for the park system, has become a national model. A native of the Blue Ridge, Ward began her career at Hungry Mother State Park.  She has been a professor and an award-winning researcher and author.  She was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change for her collaborations with the Park Service, state parks, and other nonprofits and foundations. (Registration Link coming soon)

  • October 23: Close Encounters of the Black Bear Kind:  In this program, you will learn more about the black bear, including its distribution, habits, and behavior.  Find out about the natural history of black bears in Western North Carolina and learn how to safely coexist with them.  You will also learn more about the new BearWise initiative and the current phase of the Urban-Suburban Bear Study. Our presenter Tanya Poole is the Regional Education Specialist for the NC Wildlife Resources Commision.  Her area covers 33 counties in Western North Carolina.  She has worked for the commission for 16 years and has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and biology from Western Carolina University and a master's degree in environmental education from Montreat College.

  • November 6: What the 2020 Election Results Could Mean:  Chris Cooper, chair of the political science department at Western Carolina University, Joel Burgess, Asheville Citizen-Times political reporter, and Mark Barrett, independent political journalist, will offer insight in what is shaping up to be an historic election. 


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Fall Member Social

Join your OLLI friends for the Spring Member Social. Take this opportunity to socialize, enjoy delicious food, drinks and a few other surprises. Stay tuned for more info on what you can look forward to this spring!

  •  Stay Tuned for info on a virtual Fall Social Happy Hour!

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 online, date TBA.  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, and you may find out more about upcoming sessions and reserve your space by registering online at www.coabc.org.   When we are able to meet face-to-face, we hope to again host representatives from the Social Security Administration at these sessions 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.

  • Virtual Dates to be announced


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New Member Welcome! -  Fall Date TBD

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 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.”


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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.  OLLI Members 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.

  •  Thursday, October 15, 4:30 - 5:30 PM - ZOOM Poetry Reading featuring Lottie Erikso and Roger Munch

    • OLLI Authors, a quarterly reading program, provides a forum for talented OLLI writers to showcase their creative efforts.  Each reading features two poets or prose authors. The series began in early 2017 and was interrupted by Covid-19 in the spring of 2020. October’s program marks the resumption of the series via Zoom online.
    • CLICK HERE to join with Zoom on Oct. 15 at 4:30 pm


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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.  ASO music director Darko Butorac and guest conductors 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

• Symphony Talks are postponed until the symphony resumes its concert series.


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Reading Through Retirement: A Book Discussion Group about Life’s Second Half

Orientation: September 1 from 12:30-1:30

Book 1: September 8 & 22
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
By Atul Gawande
Facilitated by David Mouw

Book 2: October 6 & 20
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The Village Effect - Why Face-to-Face Contact Matters
By Susan Pinker
Facilitated by Meridith Miller

Book 3: November 3 & 17
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
By Desmond Tutu and the 14th Dalai Lama
Facilitated by Gail Wiley

Book 4: December 1 & 8
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Aging
By Ashton Applewhite
Facilitated by Catherine Frank

C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone." At a time when we are all looking for connection, community and shared experiences, Reading Through  Retirement, offers you an opportunity to dive deep into issues of aging and life’s second half with the guidance and collective wisdom of a group and four devoted facilitators.

With support from facilitators and the shared experience with other participants, you will have the opportunity to explore varied topics related to aging, isolation, connection, joy,meaning, and more in life’s second half.

Each of the four books will offer a different topic to consider, and the program will promote connection, community and conversation. Linked here are a synopsis of the texts to be read, and the dates for discussion of each book.


Register here

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Western North Carolina Historical Association

Join us via Zoom on Saturday, October 17 at 4:00pm for a virtual symposium focusing on monuments and commemoration in Asheville presented by the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) in collaboration with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Our city, like many others, is currently wrestling with the meanings and fates of many controversial statues and monuments. This symposium aims to help facilitate community engagement and dialogue in advance of the Vance Monument Task Force’s anticipated report at the end of October with their recommendations for the Vance Monument and Pack Square.This program, hosted via Zoom, will feature several notable scholars and allow for audience questions.

Dr. Steve Nash, Dr. Dwight Mullen, and Dr. Fitzhugh Brundage will speak about:

  • The legacy of Zebulon Vance and his commemoration elsewhere in North Carolina as well as Statuary Hall
  • The historical uses of Pack Square for auctions of the enslaved as well as prominent and notable figures in the history of Asheville’s African-American community
  • The memorialization of the Lost Cause and Confederacy as well as the history and possible future of monuments in general
  • The Vance MonumentTask Force


World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council organizes fascinating lectures and discussions that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina's global ties. These lectures are sponsored by the WNC chapter of the World Affairs Council, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville, and UNC Asheville Department of Political Science.

  • CURRENTLY POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - Stay tuned for rescheduling

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.

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