Discover ideas, acquire knowledge, and fuel your curiosity through the Lifelong Learning Institute of Ohio Wesleyan University. The Spring 2024 term is scheduled from March 4 - April 12 and offers an array of topics including film appreciation; preserving the past through art and storytelling through photographs; the 2024 elections; brain longevity; science in action, including bat conservation; women pioneers; banned and challenged books, and much more for your consideration! Morning, afternoon, and evening classes are offered.

The term begins the week of March 4. Registration for the Spring 2024 Term opens February 5 through February 27. Note: Given the interest in the April 8 Solar Eclipse with many making plans to watch this unique event, the LLI has not scheduled any classes on that date.

Courses are taught by volunteers, including professors, practitioners, and others in a noncompetitive environment, with each class meeting for approximately two hours. Join the community of lifelong learners 55 and older for the exciting classes presented below.

Lifelong Learning Institute gift certificates are available and make a great gift for a birthday, anniversary, or other celebration. (See tab to the right for more information).

Join other lifelong learners for classes and community this spring!

Class Location: All class sessions will be held in the first-floor Benes Rooms of the Ohio Wesleyan Hamilton-Williams Campus Center except where noted in the individual class descriptions below. The address for the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center is 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The campus map can be found here.  

Please note other highlighted class locations include:

  • The Strand Theatre, 28 E. Winter St., Delaware
  • Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware
  • Willow Brook Christian Village, 100 Willow Brook Way S, Delaware
  • Parking for classes held at OWU is available in campus parking lots including next to and behind the library and other locations highlighted here.

Be sure to join our email list to be kept up-to-date on LLI happenings.

Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Ups

Tracey Peyton, Managing Director, Strand Theatre

Jamie Cretella, Strand Projectionist

Mondays, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1, 15)

Class Location: This class will be held each week at The Strand Theatre, 28 E. Winter St., Delaware.

Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Ups is a class not for the faint of heart who enjoy stories of good cops vs. bad cops and the city cesspool where you cannot be sure who is good or evil. The misuse of police authority for personal gain carries prohibitive costs. The class will examine mafia ties that bind, real-life heroes and villains as well as acting and directing heavyweights for a salacious series. The series will also examine a few of the controversial cover-ups like the George Reeves "suicide" and the Lana Turner/Johnny Stompanato scandal, among others. Due to film lengths, classes marked with an asterisk will go until 1 p.m.

  • *The Godfather (R) Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    March 4
  • *Serpico (R) Director: Sidney Lumet
    March 11
  • The Untouchables (R) Director: Brian DePalma
    March 18
  • *Good Fellas (R) Director: Martin Scorsese
    March 25
  • Copland (R) Director: James Mangold
    April 1
  • NO CLASS due to Solar Eclipse
    April 8
  • *The Departed (R) Director: Martin Scorsese
    April 15

Preserving the Past - Sharing Our Stories

Christoper Yates, Richard M. Ross Art Museum

Mondays, 3-5 p.m. (March 25, April 1)

Saturday, 3-5 p.m. (April 6)

Class Location: This class will be held at the Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware

  • Behind the Scenes
    March 25
    Participants will have a behind-the-scenes preview of the Ross Art Museum's exhibition Restore: Conserving Masterworks that opens to the public in April. We'll look at prints and discuss the treatment methods used for the 31 prints in the exhibition. All are from the permanent collection and represent artists who have contributed to major movements in Western art history.
  • Preserving Family Photos and Storytelling: 
    April 1
    Participants will be shown archival materials for preserving family photos and other memorabilia. We'll look at archival encasements as well as digital archival methods (analog vs. digital preservation). Discussion will center on storytelling. We'll look at artists' photo books and folios in the Ross Art Museum collection.
  • Creating Digital Photo Books
    April 6
    Participants will discover the steps needed to create a digital photo book using a popular platform like Mixhook or Walmart Photo. We'll create storyboards to curate how we remember an event, place, trip, person, or family pet. Participants can prepare materials in advance or simply follow along to learn how to design a photo book.

LLI Potpourri

Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - noon (March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9)

Class Location: This class will be held each week in the OWU Hamilton-Williams Campus Center First Floor Benes Room.

  • Legacy of Leadership: 25 Years of Progress as Delaware's City Manager, with Thomas Homan, Delaware City Manager
    March 5
    Tom Homan has been Delaware City Manager since 1999. He announced in July 2023 his intention to retire effective July 2024, ending a 25-year tenure as Delaware's longest-serving city manager. Homan has worked with five Mayors, 24 Council members, and numerous department leaders. As manager, he oversees a $100 million operating budget and approximately 400 employees responsible for the delivery of all City services, including development, human resources, public works, finance, public safety, water utilities, and technology. Lifelong Learning Institute students will learn leadership lessons from Homan's quarter-century in Delaware, a period marked by transformational change, including downtown revitalization, neighborhood development, economic development initiatives, modernization of water and sewer plans, and construction of the Delaware Community Center/YMCA.
  • The "Tribal Twenties": America in the 1920s and 2020s, with Michael Flamm, Professor of History, Ohio Wesleyan University
    March 12
    A century ago, immigration and urbanization led millions of native-born Christian Fundamentalists in small towns and rural areas to promote white supremacy, traditional values, and nativist restrictions through the second Ku Klux Klan. Today, Christian nationalism has merged with conservative populism to become a powerful force in the Republican Party. Why have the "Tribal Twenties" returned and what is the connection to the cultural fragmentation, political extremism, and economic insecurity the U.S. is now experiencing? In this multimedia presentation, Michael Flamm will explore these complicated and controversial issues.
  • Preview of the 2024 Elections: Presidential Nominations, with Dr. Paul Beck, Professor Emeritus and Academy Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University, and international co-coordinator of the Comparative National Elections Project
    March 19
    This session will cover the presidential nomination process to date. The U.S. is unique among the world's democracies in how much it involves ordinary voters in the selection of major party candidates, including for president. As things stand, Biden and Trump are overwhelming favorites to be nominated by delegates at the summer national party conventions. After discussing the "takeaways" from recent caucuses and primaries, the focus will turn to historical and current state differences in how American parties select presidential nominees and what issues they raise for the future.
  • The Ins, Outs, Tips, Tricks, and Trends of Starting a Business After 50, 55, 60?, with Lori Wengerd, SCORE Volunteer Mentor; Chair, SCORE Columbus Chapter
    March 26
    Hear from entrepreneur and SCORE business mentor Lori Wengerd about what it takes for older adults to establish a business in today's economic environment. She'll share the basics of starting and running a business, but with a twist, because it IS different when you're an older adult. This is a conversational program, with Lori sharing her own experience and asking the audience to do the same. Can owning your own business be in your future?
  • Nurses in the Spanish-American War, with Vickie Sheets, JD, BSN, BA/OWU '72
    April 2
    In the American Civil War, the military was at first reluctant to use female nurses. By the start of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the military sought to contract with professionally trained nurses to serve sick and wounded soldiers. This presentation will explain what changed and how the excellent service of nurses in this short war contributed to the creation of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps in the early 1900s. 
  • It's A Small World After All, with Darrell Albon, International and Off-Campus Programs, Ohio Wesleyan University; Lisa Ho, Associate Director, International and Off-Campus Programs, Ohio Wesleyan University; Dede Shine, Assistant Director, International and Off-Campus Programs, Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University students
    April 9
    Many of you have traveled well beyond Delaware, Ohio, to try different cuisines, lifestyles, shopping experiences, and yes, different languages, too. And in those travels, you probably realized that more than the differences between us, the similarities we share as people create that small world feeling! Did you know that Ohio Wesleyan is home to students from 40 states & territories and 27 different countries? Did you also know that in the past year our students traveled to a total of 33 countries on 6 continents to study abroad, volunteer, intern, or conduct research? Join some of these students, both international and those who have traveled internationally, as they present on their experiences abroad and share their insights into our world as they see it. They will also reflect on what it is like to live and go to school in a small town in the middle of Ohio. The OWU Connection helps all students who want to experience a different culture and explore opportunities for experiential learning, creative projects, research, and internships - making our world smaller...after all.

Brain Longevity: The 4 Pillars of Alzheimer's Prevention 

Polly Morgan, Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation Brain Longevity Therapy Specialist

Tuesdays, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. (March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9)

Class Location: This class will be held each week in the OWU Hamilton-Williams Campus Center first-floor Benes Room.

  • A Natural Method for Brain Longevity
    March 12
    This series on natural methods for prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias consists of an introductory session and four sessions focused on The Pillars of Alzheimer's Prevention. Whether you are concerned about dementia for yourself or are a caregiver for someone with dementia, these classes will have information to help you reduce stress and lower your risk of dementia.
  • Stress Reduction
    March 19
    A growing body of scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of meditation as a stress management tool and, thus, as a pathway to dementia prevention. In this class, we will learn about a simple meditation technique called the Kirtan Kriya.
  • Psycho-Social Well Being
    March 26
    Learn how socialization with like-minded people, patience, compassion, and a sense of purpose play a significant role in prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias.
  • Physical and Mental Exercise
    April 2
    Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease by a whopping 50%!  Mental exercise or "brain aerobics" boosts oxygen and blood flow to the brain resulting in bigger and healthier brains.  The Brian Longevity Yoga Exercises are simple and can be done by anyone.  Discover easy movements, breathing practices, and meditation techniques to rejuvenate body and mind and slow the aging process.
  • Diet and Nutrition
    April 9
    We will explore The Brain Longevity Prescription and learn how diet and supplementation play a key role in brain health and dementia prevention.  We will discuss the nutritional components that make up a brain longevity diet and the connection between memory, diet and genetics.

Science in Action

Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m. (March 5, 12, 19)

Class location: This class will be held each week in the OWU Hamilton-Williams Campus Center first-floor Benes Room except for the March 12 class, which will be held on Zoom.

  • The Great American Eclipse, Part 2: Standing in the Shadow of the Moon, with Tom Burns, Retired Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University 
    March 5
    Have you made your plans yet to observe the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024? The next such event in Ohio will be in the year 2099 so don't miss this unique opportunity.  Learn more about this exceptional event from the perspective of astronomer Tom Burns. 
  • The World of Bats! with Kristen Lear, Bat Conservationist, Bat Conservation International
    March 12
    There are over 1,450 species of bats in the world, showcasing amazing diversity. They live on every continent except Antarctica and provide immense benefits to ecosystems and our economies. This class will introduce the amazing world of bats around the globe and in our own backyards. Bat conservationist and OWU alumna Dr. Kristen Lear will share her experiences with bat conservation projects worldwide, and participants will learn how they can help bats in their own backyards. There will be ample Q&A time, so come prepared with your batty questions! Note: this class will be held on Zoom.
  • The Future is Wall Lizards: How one species thrives in our human-altered word, with Dr. Eric Gangloff, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Allison Litmer, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Ohio Wesleyan University
    March 19
    The common wall lizard is a small, conspicuous lizard species widespread across Europe and abundant in many cities. In the 1950s, about 10 wall lizards were released in a Cincinnati backyard, and have since established dense populations in Ohio and continue to spread. We will describe and demonstrate our research on wall lizards, which seeks to understand how this species can do so well in our human-altered world through studies on thermal biology, lead resistance, digestion, genomics, and 'athletic' performance, like climbing and running.

Women Pioneers

Wednesdays, 10 a.m.- noon (March 6, 13, 20, 27)

Class Location: Each class will be held on Zoom.

Explore the lives of a few Ohio female pioneers along with the museums and historic sites in Ohio where you can learn more about their stories.

  • Finding a Cause, with Lisa Meade, Lead Park Ranger, First Ladies National Historic Site, Canton
    March 6
    First ladies have a unique position. They are not quite a private citizen and not quite a public official. Many first ladies have used this unique position to advocate for something they are passionate about. Safe housing, equal pay, and Civil Rights are just a few of the causes that caught the attention of some first ladies. This program will introduce the causes of a few first ladies and give participants an opportunity to think about their own cause of choice.
  • Annie Oakley from Sharpshooter to a Sophisticated Woman, with Brenda Arnett, National Annie Oakley Center at Garst Museum, Greenville
    March 13
    Annie Oakley, often portrayed as an unsophisticated country bumpkin on stage and screen, couldn't be further from the real Annie Oakley, who traveled the world and met and performed for the Crowned Heads of Europe. From her modest beginnings to being a world-famous entertainer, Oakley was able to adapt to her changing notoriety, as well as a changing world.
  • To be announced
    March 20
  • Trailblazers in Aviation and Aerospace, with Sara Fisher, Executive Director, International Women's Air and Space Museum, Cleveland
    March 27
    During Women's History Month, join the International Women's Air & Space Museum as we explore the experiences of countless women who impacted and continue to shape our air and space history. Learn about the under-told roles of women like Mary Golda Ross, Bessie Coleman, the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes, Jerrie Mock, and more, and how Ohio has shaped every aspect of our air and space communities. 

Culinary Medicine: A deeper dive into evidence-based foods and trends directing nutrition science and discover a delicious route to health and wellness 

John Lindeboom, Director of Culinary Services, Willow Brook Christian Communities

Wednesdays, 2 - 4 p.m. (March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10)

Class location: This class will be held in the 3rd-Floor Terrace Room, Willow Brook Christian Village, 100 Willow Brook Way S., Delaware

Note: Enrollment is limited to 50 participants.

As the title reflects, learn from Chef Lindeboom in taking a deeper dive into evidence-based foods and trends directing nutrition science and discover a delicious route to health and wellness. He will present a variety of cooking demonstrations to illustrate the evidence and trends. 

Banned and Challenged Books: Classic American Novels through the Decades 

Stephanie Tingley, Emeritus Professor of English, Youngstown State University 

Thursdays, 10 a.m. - noon (March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11)

Class Location: This class will be held each week in the OWU Hamilton-Williams Campus Center first-floor Benes Room.

We will take a tour through the decades (from the 1880s through the early 2000s) of some of the most controversial classic novels in American literature, beginning with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and ending with Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, a graphic novel from 2006. Along the way, we will explore some of the reasons why these books were/are controversial and what's at stake when a book is contested. We will also situate these classic novels in American cultural history and connect them to enduring American ideas and themes.

  • Overview and a bit of banned books history
    1880s Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    March 7
  • 1890s Chopin, The Awakening
    1920s Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
    March 14
  • 1940s Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
    1950s Nabokov, Lolita or Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
    March 21
  • 1960s Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
    Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    March 28
  • 1980s Walker, The Color Purple
    Morrison, The Bluest Eye
    Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

    April 4
  • 1990s Spiegelman, Maus (graphic novel)
    2000s Bechdel, Fun Home (graphic novel)
    April 11

My Life As A...

Thursdays, 2-4 p.m. (March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11)

Class Location: Each class will be held on Zoom.

What career path did you choose? How did you choose such a path? Hear the interesting career choices and paths followed by a number of distinguished individuals including OWU alumni in such diverse fields as space exploration, social business entrepreneurship, venture capital, White House principal liaison to Congress, lobbyist, Dead Sea Scrolls researcher and more. Learn insights from their fascinating journeys.

Check back to see presenters added on the open dates indicated below. More to come!

  • My Life As A Scientist, Astronaut, and Explorer, with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, geologist, former NASA astronaut, first American woman to walk in space, and oceanographer
    March 7
    Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., is a geologist, former NASA astronaut, and oceanographer who was the first American woman to walk in space, the first woman to dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the Earth's oceans), and is the first and only person to do both. Among her many accomplishments:
    • Flew on three shuttle missions, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope.
    • Served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator in the Obama-Biden administration.
    • Served as the inaugural Director of the Battelle Center for Math and Science Education Policy in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
    • Former President and CEO of Ohio's Center of Science and Industry.
    • Appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Science Board.

  • Our Lives as a Venture Capitalist and a Social Business Entrepreneur with Dr. Fred Haney and Barbara Breig Haney OWU '63/'63
    March 14
    Dr. Fred Haney has invested in - and helped to build - hundreds of high-tech and bio-tech companies. He has served on over 30 boards of directors and managed investments in over 100 companies. Fred created and managed 3i Ventures, California, the largest venture capital fund in Southern California in the 1980s. 3i Ventures invested $80 million in 60 companies and produced 19 public companies and highly profitable, top-quartile return-on-investment. Fred founded and still manages Monday Club, a 1400-member mentoring network ( that has successfully helped hundreds of startups improve their marketing, find team members, and raise capital.

    Fred was one of the 10 co-founders of Tech Coast Angels, the largest Angel investor group in the U.S.  as well as a co-founder of five successful startup companies including NovaDigm Therapeutics, the first fungal vaccine tested in humans, and DRC Computer, the most powerful gene sequencing computer in the world.

    Recipient of the distinguished award from the LA County Commission on Human Rights, Los Angeles, CA, Barbara Haney, M.A., obtained community based employment for hundreds of people with Developmental Disabilities as Director of Community Development for Social Vocational Services, a California based non profit agency. She is the founder and facilitator of People First of the South Bay Harbor Area, a self-advocacy organization by and for individuals with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairments as well as the founder and facilitator of the SVS Business Advisory Committee. Haney was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to serve a five-year term on The Rehabilitation Advisory Council, Sacramento CA and was recognized by The DAILY BREEZE Newspaper "People of Distinction" Award in the Business and Innovation Category, Torrance. 
  • To be announced
    March 21
  • To be announced
    March 28
  • My Life As A Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar, with Dr. James Charlesworth, President, Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins; Director and Editor, Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project; OWU '62
    April 11
    Dr. James Charlesworth is Princeton Theological Seminary's George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature Emeritus.  He has specialized in the OId and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus research, and the Gospel of John. As the director of the Seminary's Dead Sea Scrolls Project, he worked on the Qumran Scrolls to make available, in cooperation with more than 50 international specialists, an accurate text and an introduction. He has excavated at Migdal, Bethsaida, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Khirbet Beza, Qumran, and elsewhere. Charlesworth has taught at Duke University, Hebrew University, and the Albright Institute, both in Jerusalem, and the University of Tübingen.  An ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, he serves as advisor to the denomination's World Missionary Council and preaches and lectures globally.
  • My Life in Washington, the White House, the Airline Industry, and More, with Nick Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America (A4A), OWU '75
    April 16
    Note: this session takes place on a Tuesday
    Nicholas Calio has led the Washington, D.C.- based Airlines for America (A4A), the trade association for the country's leading passenger and cargo airlines, since 2011. A4A advocates for America's airlines as models of safety, customer service, and environmental responsibility, and the indispensable network that drives nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 11 million jobs. Known for his ability to build consensus, Calio has focused the association on working with airlines, manufacturers, labor unions, and the government to promote a healthy industry.

    Prior to joining A4A, Calio served as Citigroup's executive vice president for global government affairs and a member of its senior leadership committee, responsible for relationships with governments globally.  Before Citigroup, Calio served President George W. Bush as assistant to the president for legislative affairs. As the president's principal liaison to Congress, Calio worked closely with the leadership and members of Congress, and had primary responsibility for formulating and implementing White House strategy on all legislative issues. He held the same position during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. In these positions, Calio established a reputation for working with both Republicans and Democrats.

Close Encounters of the Scientific Kind: the Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Interactions of Science and the UFO/UAP Phenomenon

Teckla Dando, Retired high school teacher and Adjunct Professor of Geology, University of Dayton

Fridays, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. (March 22, 29, April 5, 12)

Class Location: Each class will be held on Zoom.

  • Introduction to science and how UFO/UAPs can be studied scientifically
    March 22
  • Modern UFO sightings
    March 29
  • Is there a government cover-up?
    April 5
  • The slow acceptance of the UFO/UAP phenomena
    April 12

Lifelong Learning Institute Contact Information


Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015


Email or call Debbie Lewis at 740-368-3078.