Spring 2020

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) of the University of Vermont mission is to provide intellectually stimulating, affordable learning opportunities in community settings throughout Vermont. Rutland OLLI was the first of 9 statewide sites to be established under the UVM OLLI program.

We are grateful to the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department and to the volunteers who make this program possible.

Time and Place

All lectures are held on Fridays from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the Godnick Adult Center, 1 Deer Street (off Woodstock Avenue) in Rutland. For directions to the Godnick Center or for program information call 446-2041 or 492-2300.

What If It Snows?

In the event of a winter storm or storm warning: if Rutland High School closes for the day (not simply a delayed opening), we will cancel our program for that day. School closings are announced on local radio or TV, and on


March 6

Reading Thoreau in the 21st Century

UVM Professor Robert Pepperman Taylor will share thoughts about what is most ethically, politically, and environmentally alive in the writings of Henry David Thoreau, more than 150 years after his death.

March 13

The Meaning Of A Map

Cartographic technology has advanced at a startling pace in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down. With Bill Morris, cartographer and data scientist with Faraday, Inc. in Burlington, using a set of meaningful maps as a guide, we’ll fly backward and forward through cartographic history to give it all some context.

March 20

Weather Wise: The Science Of Weatherlore

Senior Meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum Mark Breen has provided his “Eye on the Sky” morning weather forecast on VPR for over 35 years. Some people, however, also use time-tested proverbs, like “Red at Night…” to predict the weather. Mr. Breen will share these “weatherlore” sayings, their origins, and reliability. Bring your favorites!

March 27

Steel Drums: Symbol Of Resilience

Music is woven into the cultural fabric of any country, and the evolution of the steel drum in Trinidadian history is a rich tapestry indeed. With Jennifer Cohen of Calypso Connections, we’ll learn the fascinating events that led to the invention of the steel drum, hear tunes played on the instrument, and perhaps participate in making some music as well.


April 3

Eyesight and Insight: A Lens on American Art

Dr. Katie Kirchhoff, Associate Curator at the Shelburne Museum, will preview a summer exhibition at the Museum. She will explain how sight, eyeglasses and other optical technologies have shaped the history of American Art through the 18th to the 21st century. Featured will be works by Thomas Wood, Mary Cassatt, Alex Katz, Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, Jamie Wyeth and others.

April 10

Opening Family Mysteries with DNA

Michael Dwyer will present an overview of the tool that has revolutionized genealogy. He will provide examples of different types of DNA analysis and explain their applications. Michael is a Fellow of American Genealogists, edits two genealogical journals and has published several dozen research articles.

April 17

The Chase: Lake Champlain’s Rum Runners & Boat Patrol

During Prohibition rather than risk being caught along the roads that crisscrossed the U.S.-Canadian border in New York and Vermont, many professional smugglers and others avoided lawmen by using the open waters of Lake Champlain. Dr. Scott McLaughlin will explain how these outlaws smuggled alcohol into the United States and how U.S. Custom officers tried their best to stop the seemingly endless flow of booze between 1920 and 1933.

April 24

From Survey to Scan: Recent Archaeology in Rutland County, VT

Over the last four years, the South Champlain Historical Project (SCHEP) has conducted archaeological investigations at the Galick Site, a large Precontact and Historical site in West Haven. More recently, SCHEP conducted salvage investigations at Granger House, a National Register home in Castleton Village. Dr. Moriarity will present the early results of these investigations along with a discussion of the use of 3D imaging to document heritage resources from these and other sites in Rutland County.


May 1

Don’t Panic, But Democracy May Be Dying

Jon Margolis is a long time columnist, a political correspondent and the author of several books. In this lecture he cautions that while it is always wise to be
wary of doomsayers, there are credible scholars who worry that democracy, as we understand it, may be outmoded. Things are happening that support their concerns, and not just in America.

May 8

Beyond Perennials

Henry Homeyer is an organic gardener, the author of several books and a columnist on gardening subjects for dozens of newspapers in New England. His talk will highlight the woody plants, shrubs and trees that grow well in our landscape. Additionally, he will share the uses of art, stone and whimsy that make gardens a joy to construct.

May 15

Wonders of the Vermont Night Sky

Cale Shipman is an amateur astronomer, whose passions for the subject started in 1957. He was also a National Park Service Ranger. He will give a brief introduction to amateur astronomy and the uses of a telescope. Additionally, he will share with us the wonderful opportunities for night sky viewing in the region.

May 22

Connections of a Lifetime

Dr. Rick Barnett is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Stowe. He has served on a number of state boards and is the Legislative Chair and Past-President of the Vermont Psychological Association. Connecting with others, above all else, enhances our lives. This talk will review recent research on connecting as we age as well as what this means in an increasingly digital world.

Membership Information

Purchase of a $40 membership entitles you to attend all twelve sessions during the current term.

Members also may attend (at no additional charge) Elder Education Enrichment programs in South Burlington and Osher programs in any of seven other Vermont towns: Brattleboro, Central Vermont (Montpelier/Barre), Lamoille Valley (Stowe), Newport/Derby/Stanstead, Springfield, St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury; and (at a discounted price) the programs on the UVM campus.

Non-members may attend any lecture for $5 at the door. Memberships may be purchased at the door or by completing this membership form and mailing it with a $40 check (made out to UVM) to:

UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.