From Airports to Art: A New Season of Course Offerings from OLLI

Course registration for lifelong learning semester begins on December 11

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke will offer more than 130 courses during the winter semester beginning on Jan. 7 at locations across Durham. Registration opens on Dec. 11.

For a nominal membership fee, adults can join campus life, registering for courses that touch on local art treasures, computer shortcuts or yoga. For the full list of January-April courses, click here.

It's all part of a national network of more than 115 campus-based chapters. Volunteer instructors share their expertise and passions in courses spanning such diverse topics as art, finance, film, health, politics, music, dance, history, technology, writing and more. There are no tests, papers or grades. The classroom environment is casual and engaging.

Jack Gartner is sharing his knowledge of aviation and airports, which he has been involved with for more than 45 years. He helped manage the New York/New Jersey three-airport system of JFK, LGA, and EWR and is still involved in the industry as an airport consultant, and lives with his wife in Durham. His course, How Airports Work, will span aviation history, behind-the-scenes services, next-generation air traffic control and even wildlife management.

Linda Carl, a former assistant and acting director of cultural affairs at Duke, is marshaling the talents of several local art experts to offer Traveling Into the Past Via Art: The Ancient World. The course, the first in a multi-year series, is inspired by the popular BBC radio program on the British Museum, "History of the World in 100 Objects." In this video, Carl explains how each object will be a jumping off place for larger issues.

Two religious leaders will offer "A Conservative and a Liberal in Religious Dialogue: Two Views for Respect and Understanding." Mark Rutledge is the United Church of Christ campus minister on the Religious Life staff of Duke and is an associate member of the Jesus Seminar. Garry Crites is Osher's director and an ordained minister in the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. He has previously taught classes at Duke and OLLI in the history of Christianity and Celtic culture. Rutledge and Crites will lead weekly discussions framed by discussion on the Bible, Jesus, God, the church and key themes in Christianity such as spiritual belief and practice; ethics and social justice and women’s perspectives.

The class will meet on 11 consecutive Tuesdays beginning Jan. 8.

OLLI's first annual Martin Luther King Day lecture will be given on Jan. 21 by Christopher Martens, a multiple-Emmy-award-winning producer and documentarian with 23 years of experience at ESPN. His address, "The Civil Rights Movement Through the Eyes of Jackie Robinson" will explore the life of the noted athlete and activist. There is no charge, but if you plan to attend the 10 a.m. lecture, you must RSVP to Mary Georger (919-681-3476; by Jan. 7.

In addition to the classes, OLLI sponsors social events, guest speakers, short trips and a host of special interest groups, ranging from two book clubs and a photography group to the New Horizons Band and Chorus.

For more information about OLLI course offerings, go to