conversation connections

OLLI Conversation Connections are one-time meetings on a specific topic of discussion. No preparation or teacher is required, just someone to facilitate the conversation so everyone has a chance to talk. RSVPs are necessary, honored on a first response basis. Participants must be OLLI members, although volunteer facilitators are not required to be. Details about upcoming Conversations are below.


Spring Term Conversations

  • Topic: Emergency Disaster Preparation - Wildfires and Earthquakes
  • Goal: Increase awareness of current hazards and discussion of preparations
  • Approach: Brief summary of our wildfire and earthquake setting. Engage participants in discussion of disaster experiences. Engage participants in discussion of improved disaster preparation
  • Advance reading: Please click here to download a background paper on Rogue Valley earthquake setting to use as a working example of an expected disaster and ways to respond.
  • Date: Tuesday, April 20
  • Time: 11:00 AM -12:30 PM
  • Facilitator: Eric Dittmer, Professor Emeritus, SOU Environmental Studies
  • RSVP: Reservations are required. The maximum number of participants for this talk is 30, OLLI members only. Click here to RSVP by 3:30 on Monday, April 19.
  • Other Questions? Contact Eric Dittmer at
  • Topic: Independence Corrupted / How America’s Judges Really Make Their Decisions
  • Description: Judge Schudson knows how judges really make their decisions. He brings us behind the bench to probe judicial minds analyzing actual trials and sentencings. 
  • Advance reading: Recommended but not required, click here to download a brief handout of advance materials. Also recommended is Judge Schudson's award-winning book, Independence Corrupted / How America's Judges Make Their Decisions (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018).
  • Date: Thursday, April 22
  • Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Facilitator: Charles Benjamin Schudson, a Wisconsin Reserve Judge Emeritus, graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Wisconsin Law School. 
  • RSVP: Reservations are required. OLLI members only. Click here to RSVP by 3:30 on Wednesday, April 21.
  • Other Questions? Contact Pauline Black at
  • Topic: Melodies of St. Kilda (offered again since many members requested)
  • Description: Stuart McKenzie, volunteer at a senior living home in Edinburgh, tells of capturing traditional music remembered from childhood by resident Trevor Morrison, and how their amateur recording eventually morphed into a hugely popular CD. The haunting melodies are thought to be from the St. Kilda archipelago, former home to a rugged human population and equally hardy flock of primitive Soay sheep. Applegate Valley resident and musician Priscilla Weaver raises Soay sheep descended from the St. Kilda flock. Through delightful serendipity, she eventually transcribed and published the music. Join us to hear and see Stuart and Priscilla’s fascinating story of musical discovery.
  • Date: Friday, April 23
  • Time: 11:00 AM -12:30 PM
  • Facilitators: Priscilla Arnold and Priscilla Weaver (zoom host)
  • RSVP: Reservations are required, and honored on a first response basis. The maximum number of participants for this talk is 50, OLLI members only. Click here to RSVP by Noon on Thursday, April 22.
  • Other Questions? Contact Priscilla Arnold at, or call 417-861-1273

  • Topic: What It Was: Growing Up When the Music Mattered
  • Description: The post-war years of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies brought us classic rock & roll and the counterculture in the midst of tumultuous times: the struggle for civil rights, demonstrations against the Viet Nam war, political assassinations and the riots that followed them. The music helped us get through it. It gave us a voice, an anthem, a gathering place where we could share our hopes and dreams, and, yes, our fears and despair. It’s a time worth remembering, for what it was, how it shaped us, what value it may have for the world we share today. Join me for What It Was: Growing Up When the Music Mattered.
  • Date: Wednesday, April 28
  • Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM PDT
  • Facilitator: James Pagliasotti was the first rock & roll columnist for The Denver Post, where he wrote about music and the counterculture of the Sixties and Seventies. He has written for numerous publications over the years, is the author of a novella, short stories, poetry, a soon-to-be serialized dystopian novel, and two volumes of memoir, the first of which is the basis for this conversation. You can find more information about him at
  • RSVP: Reservations are required, and honored on a first response basis. OLLI members only. Click here to RSVP by 3:30 PM on Tuesday, April 27.
  • Other Questions? Contact Pauline Black at

If the topics below don't resonate with you or fit your schedule, stay tuned for other options, or host one yourself. It's easy to hold a Conversation Connection on a subject of your choice. To find out more, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Pauline Black at or call 541-552-6975.