Press Release

Lifelong Learning Institute

December 18, 2019 – by Cole Hatcher

More than 250 people participated in the first session of the Lifelong Learning Institute at Ohio Wesleyan University, with inaugural classes including a look at OWU’s Rexford Keller Memorial Pipe Organ taught by professor emeritus Joe Musser. Registration for the LLI’s spring classes, open to for those 55 and older, begins Jan. 15. (Photo by Kit Weber)

Ohio Wesleyan Invites Adults 55 and Older to Start Registering Jan. 15 for Spring Session

DELAWARE, Ohio – Are you ready to explore the “Scientific Evidence of Life After Death”? Travel “The Long Road to Health Care Reform”? Or take “A Nickel Tour of the Universe”?

These courses and more are part of the spring session of the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) at Ohio Wesleyan University. Based on feedback from the inaugural group of students, the LLI has expanded the number of weekday classes this spring as well as added Saturday and evening courses.

For a flat fee of $75, Delaware County residents 55 and older are able to take as many courses as they wish during the six-week spring session, March 16 through April 25. Registration begins Jan. 15.

Scheduled courses and their instructors are as follows. Unless otherwise noted, all classes are taught on the Ohio Wesleyan campus.


  • “Women of Hitchcock” taught by Tracey Peyton, managing director of The Strand Theatre, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Strand, 28 E. Winter St., Delaware.
  • “A Deep Dive into DNA Tools” taught by Kelli Bergheimer, nationally recognized DNA testing/genealogy expert, Mondays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Required for enrollment: A laptop computer for class (not a tablet); a completed autosomal DNA test with results (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23andMe); and a GEDmatch Tier One $10 membership for one month.
  • “The Long Road to Health Care Reform” taught by Becky Cornett, community volunteer leader and former health care administrator for The Ohio State University, Mondays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


  • “My Favorite Lecture,” taught by current and former Ohio Wesleyan faculty members, Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Scheduled topics and presenters include:
    • March 17 – “Love, the Devil, and Schubert: Listening to Gretchen am Spinnrade” taught by Tim Roden, professor of music.
    • March 24 – “Life as a Mystery Writer” taught by Lynette Carpenter, professor emerita of English.
    • March 31: “East Asia’s Past and Today’s Problems” taught by Jim Peoples, professor emeritus of sociology-anthropology.
    • April 7 – “Think Before You Shoot!” taught by Justin Kronewetter, professor emeritus of fine arts (photography) and director emeritus of the Richard M. Ross Art Museum.
  • “Strangers in a Strange Land: Immigrants and Refugees” taught by Van Young, historian and president of the Griswold History Study Group in Worthington; Bob Gitter, OWU professor of economics; and Richelle Schrock, associate professor of women’s and gender studies, Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • “LLI Evening,” covering a variety of subjects in single sessions, Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Scheduled sessions include:
    • March 17 – “A Nickel Tour of the Universe” taught by Tom Burns, OWU professor of English and retired director of Perkins Observatory.
    • March 24 – “Saving Wildlife around the World: A Message of Hope” taught by Michael Kreger, vice president of conservation, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
    • March 31 – “The Church and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Working for Peace in the Holy Land” taught by Skip Cornett, Lutheran Clergy, Ohio Coordinator of Churches for Middle East Peace.
    • April 7 – “Hitler’s American Models: What the United States Taught the Nazis” taught by Pete Kakel, OWU alumnus and research historian and lecturer at Johns Hopkins University.
    • April 14 – “Scientific Evidence of Life After Death” taught by Barry Bates, psychotherapist, author, and freelance photographer.


  • “Science in Action,” featuring Ohio Wesleyan faculty with presentations designed for all, regardless of science background, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Scheduled topics and presenters are:
    • March 18 – “Neuroplasticity: How Experience Changes Your Brain for Better or Worse” taught by Kira Bailey, assistant professor of psychology.
    • March 25 – “What’s All the Fuss About Climate Change?” taught by Nathan Amador Rowley, assistant professor of geology and geography.
    • April 1 – “What Is (and Isn’t) Artificial Intelligence” taught by Sean McCulloch, professor of mathematics and computer science.
    • April 8 – “It’s About Time” taught by Barbara Andereck, professor of physics and astronomy.
    • April 15 – “Meet the Neighbors: Lives in a Springtime Woodland Pool” taught by Wendell Patton, professor emeritus of zoology.
    • April 22 – “Earth Challenge 2020: A Citizen Science Initiative” taught by citizen scientists.
  • “Phishing, Bots, and Bits: Technology Skills for 2020” taught by Brian Rellinger, OWU associate provost for academic support and chief information officer, Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


  • “Healthy U” (chronic disease self-management) taught by Laura Smith, assistant administrator, SourcePoint Enrichment Center, and Kristen Kennedy, SourcePoint volunteer, Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
  • “CHESS: The Game, The History, The Culture” taught by Richard Vail, central Ohio club-level chess tournament director, Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • “It’s a Small World After All” taught by Lisa Ho and Deanna Shine of OWU’s Office International and Off Campus Programs, with OWU students sharing their experiences studying aboard through The OWU Connection program, Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


  • “Understanding the United States Constitution” taught by Scott Wolf, partner at Firestone, Brehm, Wolf, Whitney & Young LLP, Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


  • “How Does Your Garden Grow?” taught by Delaware County Master Gardeners, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
    • March 14 – “Native Plants” taught by Terri Litchfield.
    • March 21 – “Weeds” taught by Nancy Reynolds.
    • March 28 – “All About Herbs” taught by Susan Liechty.
    • April 4 – “Gardening in Containers” taught by Connie Emerson.
    • April 11 – “Intergenerational Garden Projects” taught by Gayle O’Sullivan.
    • April 18 – “Bees and Other Pollinators” taught by Randy Litchfield.

All of the LLI’s non-credit classes are taught in a non-competitive, relaxed environment with conversation encouraged for learners to share experiences with classmates. The courses don’t include term papers or tests, but instead create fun, engaging ways for older adults to continue to learn and grow.

In addition to Ohio Wesleyan, community groups that collaborated to create the Lifelong Learning Institute include the Delaware County District Library, SourcePoint, and Willow Brook Christian Communities.

The Delaware County Foundation and SourcePoint provided grant funds to help launch the institute, with both organizations awarding support for 2020. The grant from SourcePoint will enhance the online registration process and provide shuttles to transport LLI students around campus. The Delaware County Foundation award supports the hiring of a part-time LLI director.

To register, visit or call Debbie Lewis at (740)-368-3078 beginning Jan. 15. Space in classes is limited, so please register as early as possible. Read more about the Lifelong Learning Institute at Ohio Wesleyan University at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at