Odyssey USA

Lady looking over her shoulder in classroom
Odyssey USA: An Adventure in Learning – The University of South Alabama’s Institute for Learning in Retirement

About Odyssey USA

Odyssey USA is a membership organization and a community of learners who share the love of learning. Odyssey members design their own classes based on the interests and intellectual curiosity of the group. Classes are challenging and thought-provoking with mind-stretching activities on a wide variety of topics. Additional activities include quarterly luncheon lectures, and field trips.

▼   Upcoming and Current Courses

Odyssey courses are offered on a quarterly basis:  Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.  Classes are offered on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 – 4:00 PM and on Fridays from 1:45 – 4:15 PM.

Fall Term – September 27 -- November 17, 2017

Wednesdays – USA Marx Library


1:30 --Early Christian/Late Roman History

Janice Gandy, Instructor                     Mary Beth Allison, Coordinator

A favorite Odyssey instructor returns to present another stimulating and informative art history series.  A schedule of class topics will be given at the first class meeting.


3:00 -- Aerial America -- Mid-Atlantic States

Mary Beth Allison, Coordinator

An enthusiastic Odyssey group is getting a unique look at the landscape and notable sites of from the perspective of a low-flying aircraft.  The big screen, closed captioning, comfortable seats and optional snacks from Starbucks make this a popular series.  Participants who have lived, worked or visited these states are encouraged to to add their own impressions.  This term, we will soar over New York, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.  


Friday Classes -- Alpha Hall East Extension Classrooms


1:45 – Your Family Story, Mobile Genealogical Society

Janet Burns, Coordinator

Presenters from MGS will instruct and assist in tracking and documenting family histories on and off line.  Aspects of DNA testing, usefulness and outcomes will be discussed.

9/29     Documenting oral history & establishing goals     Sylvia Morris, Judy Culp

10/6     Following the paper trail, without a computer       Sylvia Morris

10/13   How to use Ancestry.com                                      Michelle Woodham

10/20   How to use Family Search.org                              Michelle Woodham

10/27   How to use Find a Grave                                       Michelle Woodham

11/3     Workshop -- hands-on computer research            Kara Tyson

11/10   DNA Testing                                                           D. Culberson, M. Woodham

11/17   What we have learned; how to proceed                 Michelle Woodham


1:45— Money     

James Swofford, Instructor                               Ken Reddig, Coordinator

Money sees like a mundane topic but there is much more to it than you think.  Where did the concept of money come from?  How does money get its value?  How do governments create money?  How does the banking system work?  Dr. James Swofford from the USA Department of Economics and Finance will cover these topics:

Money: what it is and what it does

Monetary aggregates/what are M1 and M2?

Financial markets and what they do; problems with financial markets

Central Banking; the Federal Reserve System; monetary policy


2:45 – 3:15 – Coffee Break


3:15 – A Look at Asia    

Jean Golden, Coordinator

9/29     Chinese Great Leap Forward                                  Harry Miller

10/6     Chinese Cultural Revolution                                    Harry Miller

10/13   Contemporary China                                                Harry Miller

10/20    Modern Japan                                                         Harry Miller

10/27    Japanese Cultural Arts                                            Kevin Tsai

11/3       Korea                                                                      Hosik Min

11/10     Philippines                                                              Estella Dorn

11/17    Qing Dynasty                                                           Christina K. Lindemas                              

3:15 -- Downtown Mobile: It is a happening place!

Mary Beth Allison, Coordinator

 9/29     Downtown Mobile Alliance                                        Carol Hunter

10/6     Crescent Theater                                                       Max Morey

10/13   Exchange 202                                                            Todd Greer

10/20   Visit Mobile                                                                 Stacy Hamilton

10/27   Alabama Coasting                                                      David Calametti

11/3     Urban Emporium                                                         Kati Lovvorn

11/10   Downtown Residences                                                TBA

11/17   Mobile Historic Development                                       Cart Blackwell

▼   Upcoming Dates & Events
   Holiday Luncheon Lecture – December 8, 12:00 Noon, USA Faculty Club
Winter Classes -- January 10 -- March 2, 2018
   Luncheon Lecture -- March 9, 2018
Spring Classes -- March 21 -- May 11, 2108
    Luncheon Lecture -- May 18, 2018
Summer Classes -- June 6 -- July 13, 2018
    Luncheon Lecture & Annual Meeting -- July 20, 2018
Dog Days Film Festival -- Wednesdays in August, 2018


▼   Odyssey Membership

There are no formal requirements for membership to Odyssey USA other than an interest in being a continuous learner.  You also need not be retired, nor are there any academic or experience requirements. 

As a membership organization, Odyssey charges a Membership Fee rather than registration fees for the courses. Members do pay for the cost of the meal at our Quarterly Luncheon Lectures and for field trips.

Membership rates are:

Annual Membership                                  $110.00 (4 terms)

Semi-Annual Membership:                        $60 (2 terms)

To join, just call us at (251) 460-7200.

▼   Our Quarterly Newsletter

Odyssey’s newsletter, The Log, is published and mailed to members prior to the beginning of each quarter.  It includes descriptions and schedule of upcoming classes, luncheons, and other events.

▼   Meet our Executive Board

Odyssey USA is a membership organization with an Executive Board elected by members to ensure a positive and inquisitive learning environment. The 2016-2017 Officers are:

Carolyn Casteel, President

Mary Frances Hallet, Vice-President

Julie Hart, Secretary

Barbara McLeod, Treasurer

Ron Walker, Curriculum Co-Chair

Hal Alexander, Curriculum Co-Chair

Margaret Gordon, Newsletter Editor

Michael & Lady Lester, Membership & Publicity Chairs

Jane Harding, Telephone Committee Chair

Ginger Hudson, Social Chair

Ron Feuerlein, Director

Andrea Pennington, Director

Jim Beach, Director