Special Events

Kick-Off Party

  • Friday, September 29; noon–2:00 p.m.
  • Location: Auditorium, Knolls of Oxford Commons
  • Cost: $8 Member; $10 Non-Member**

Join familiar friends and meet new ones as we enjoy a catered lunch and kick off another exciting year of becoming engaged, enriched, and enlightened with ILR. We’re honored to have as our guest speaker Deborah Benkovitz Williams, LSW, MSW, MT-BC, who will be entertaining and enlightening us with a performance entitled A Prescription for Music? It’s Coming.

Bats & Braille Tour

American Printing House for the Blind |Bristol’s Bar & Grille | The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Tuesday, September 26 Cost (includes bus, lunch, all tour fees): $56 Member; $70 Non-Member

Before the Civil War, airplanes, telephones, Louisville Slugger bats, and the Kentucky Derby, there was the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). Founded in 1858 and located in the historic Louisville neighborhood of Clifton, APH is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. From 1858 until the Civil War began, APH organized its operation and raised funds to create embossed books. After the war, APH resumed operations and produced its first tactile books. By the early 1870s, APH was operating on a national scale. American Printing House for the Blind is now the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. Since 1937, APH has had a contract with the National Library in Washington, D.C. for recording Talking Books. A fascinating guided factory tour will reveal how talking and braille books are created, after which we’ll experience hands-on history as we’re guided through their award-winning multimedia museum featuring artifacts, photos, and electronic displays that introduce the history of tactile alphabets, the braillewriter, Talking Books, and much more. In the heart of Louisville’s museum district, Bristol’s Bar & Grille is our noontime destination. Every area has its culinary claim to fame, and Kentucky’s Hot Brown and Derby Pie are just a couple of the famed hometown entrees we’ll find on our scrumptious lunch buffet.

Just steps from the restaurant, we’ll experience a bat encounter. You won’t find these bats in the belfry, but you will connect with a global icon on its hometown turf. Equally as Americana as the national pastime itself, Louisville Slugger bats are crafted today with the same pride that started in 1884. Watch the wood chips fly as you walk right through the heart of the production line, encountering each step in the bat-making process. You’ll smell the wood, see the sizzling brand, hear great stories, and witness history in the making. You’ll also take home a miniature Louisville Slugger bat.

Adjacent to the factory, we’ll tour the Louisville Slugger Museum, named “one of the greatest sports museums in the world” by Forbes.com. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate this museum which celebrates the extraordinary role Louisville Slugger baseball bats have played in the sport’s past, present, and future. From the forest to the field, you’ll follow the timber that’s turned into hard-hitting history. During our museum visit, you’ll also have the opportunity to tour two special limited-time exhibits: Big Leagues Little Bricks is an original exhibition featuring amazing sculptures, portraits, and stadium replicas built entirely with LEGO bricks! Ali & Aaron: United in The Fight honors two titans of the American sports scene who have much in common as heroes who endured racism and faced down challenges with conviction. This original art installation explores the historic role both athletes played in the fight for civil rights. Muhammad Ali once called Hank Aaron “the only man I idolize more than myself.”


  • 7:30 Assemble at NW corner of Millett Hall parking lot for first pick-up
  • 7:45 Depart Oxford
  • 8:00 Assemble at Lowe’s on Colerain Ave. for second pick-up
  • 8:15 Depart Lowe’s10:15 American Printing House for Blind
  • 12:15 Lunch at Bristol’s Bar & Grille
  • 1:30 Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum
  • 6:00 Return to Lowe’s
  • 6:30 Return to Millett Hall

Fly Me to the Moon Tour

Armstrong Air & Space Museum | Marley’s Downtown | Winans Chocolate + Coffee | Unmanned Aerial Systems, Sinclair Community College

Wednesday, November 8 Cost (includes bus, lunch, all tour fees): $56 Member; $70 Non-Member** As one of the nation’s premiere aerospace museums, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum shares the story of Neil Armstrong and all Ohioans who have defied gravity. Designed to resemble a futuristic moon base and featuring many one of-a-kind artifacts—the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Neil Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, and a lunar sample—the museum also houses two full-size aircraft, including the very airplane in which Neil Armstrong learned to fly. Whether your interest is in American history, aviation, space exploration, or state history, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum offers something for you. Returning to Earth for a bit of sustenance, destination lunch will land us at Marley’s Downtown, located in the heart of Wapakoneta’s historic district. We’ll then launch those with a sweet tooth over the moon with the sights and oh-so-sumptuous smells and samples waiting for us in Piqua at the Winans Chocolates + Coffees behind-the-scenes factory tour. Established in the early 1900s and now in its 4th generation of family ownership, Winans chocolates are still handmade and their freshly roasted coffees are hand sourced worldwide.

Shifting gears from outer space, we’ll hover around cutting-edge flight as we drone on about the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) phenomenon. UAS is an emerging industry that is expected to exceed $94 billion (internationally) by 2020, creating more than 105,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2027. Based on the assets, capabilities, and resources focused on UAS technologies, the Dayton region and the state of Ohio are in a unique position to become the destination of choice for UAS researchers, developers, manufacturers, suppliers, trainers, and educators. Sinclair Community College’s vision is to become the nation’s recognized leader in providing world-class education, training, and certification to create a highly skilled workforce for all aspects of Unmanned Aerial Systems and related industries.


  • 7:00 Assemble at NW corner of Millett Hall parking lot for first pick-up
  • 7:15 Depart Oxford
  • 7:45 Assemble at VOALC in West Chester for second pick-up
  • 8:00 Depart VOALC 9:30 Armstrong Air & Space Museum
  • 11:30 Lunch at Marley’s Downtown
  • 1:00 Winan’s Chocolates & Coffee
  • 2:30 UAS, Sinclair College
  • 5:00 Return to VOALC 6:00 Return to Oxford

Lunch (choose one)

  • Pulled chicken sandwich, or
  • Pulled pork bbq sandwich, or
  • Soup and salad
  • All meals include chips, fruit, dessert, and beverage.

Explore Coffee and Much More in Costa Rica!


January 3–11, 2018
(Register by 10-15-17)


$1950 (excluding airfare)—Members & Non-Members

Who wouldn't want to escape Ohio's deep freeze in January? Dig up your passport and make plans to board the pup in early 2018. Bob Thurston, instructor of this semester's coffee class An Eye-Opening Look at Coffee (on Fridays in Oxford), will perk up your interest to travel south with a coffee expert to Costa Rica January 3–11, 2018. See coffee farms, talk to farmers and researchers, and taste many different coffees. We will focus on problems and hopes in the coffee industry. So much is connected to coffee: issues of globalization, social justice, environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, labor supply, the health benefits of coffee (yes, it does seem to be a wonder drug), and the challenges of climate change. Get warm, see cloud forests, monkeys, birds, bats, sustainable agriculture, and more-but most of all, dig deeper into a vital everyday product, grown by around 25 million people worldwide, with a total annual value of some $200 billion.

There will be time for fun, good food, and shopping. All-inclusive cost in country—meals, lodging in excellent accommodations, and transportations—$1950. Airfare is up to you (e.g.Cincinnati to San Jose, Costa Rica is about $700).

Leading the trip will be Emeritus Professor Robert Thurston, who in a second career after retirement from teaching has written extensively about coffee, spoken about it on four continents, and visited dozens of farms in nine countries. He served as senior editor and contributor to Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry, which won a prize from Gourmand magazine and has been well received around the world. In addition to acting as managing partner of Oxford Coffee Company, a roastery and coffeehouse, Dr. Thurston is currently writing a new book about coffee.

This trip is open to both members and non-members for the same price, but enrollment is limited. Miami's Global Initiatives (not ILR) will handle registration. For further information, please contact the ILR office or Professor Thurston directly at thurstrw@MiamiOH.edu.

Register for Trip

ILR events/classes involving walking/hiking/exercise may be strenuous for some. Please use discretion when registering.

Non-members may participate in special events for an additional fee.