OLLI Students Create Lifelong Memories During Educational Tour of Rome

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute students with professor Tom Paradise at the Spanish Steps in Rome
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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute students with professor Tom Paradise at the Spanish Steps in Rome

Seventeen Osher Life Long Learning Institute students recently concluded an eight-day class and educational tour of Rome. The trip, which was organized by the University of Arkansas Rome Center and the Office for Study Abroad and International Exchange, was the first of its kind for OLLI and marked the institute's 10th anniversary.

"It was a pleasure to help host the OLLI students in Rome," said Davide Vitali, director of the university's Rome Center. "This was the first opportunity for the Rome Center to provide outreach and engagement to broader audiences of the university's academic community. We are thrilled to be able to provide tailored educational and cultural experiences to an even wider range of learners. It was rewarding for our faculty and staff to be part of these students' continued learning and see them experience a new culture, language and environment."

Tom Paradise, University Professor in the Department of Geosciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and a charter instructor and member of OLLI, designed the extensive itinerary, and guided the group members throughout their visit to the Eternal City.

"Having lived, worked, and conducted research in Rome over the years, this was a rare and fun opportunity to share my experiences of the city with our unique OLLI students from Arkansas," Paradise said." This tour focused on strolling tours of famous and unusual architecture and art, Rome's cuisines, and secret spots. The trip was a hit with lots of laughs and tons of learning."

OLLI students visited many of the city's historically significant sites, such as the Roman Forum, Pantheon, Colosseum, and the Vatican, in addition to daily walks through Rome's diverse neighborhoods. Consuelo Lollobrigida, University of Arkansas Rome Center faculty member and adjunct professor for the Fulbright College, presented a lecture for the students on the history, artistry and architectural details of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. It gave the OLLI trip participants an expert frame of reference before their visit.

The itinerary also included a trip east of Rome to Villa d'Este and the celebrated Renaissance Gardens of Tivoli - one of the wonders of the landscaping and engineering world. Tivoli's gardens are renowned for their fantastic fountains including the magnificent Tivoli Water Organ that plays musical tones as water is forced through the stone pipes of an organ. The Garden's fountains are a unique engineering masterpiece since no mechanisms or assistance are used, only the power of gravity drives the numerous fountains. The tour was led by Emilio del Gesso, a professor of art and architecture at the University of Arkansas Rome Center.

"I will treasure the memories of our trip forever," said Martha DeVault, OLLI charter member. "I will be eternally grateful for this unique opportunity to be included in a trip where I learned more than I deserved, not only about the history of Rome, but about myself."

About the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a service unit of the College of Education and Health Professions, was established at the University of Arkansas in 2007 through an endowed gift from The Bernard Osher Foundation. The mission of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arkansas is to provide a community of seasoned adults with a lifelong learning venue that promotes intellectual vitality through exploration and discussion via diverse, high quality and affordable educational programs. OLLI programs are tailored to mature adults, however, there are no age restrictions or academic prerequisites.

Contacts

Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
479-575-5809, amandcan@uark.edu

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