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Interest Groups

We issue a warm invitation to all members to participate in any interest group. Unique opportunities for friendship, sharing, and learning are offered. The only requirement for participation is paid membership in The University League.

Interest Group Chair:  Mary Jo Willis
Assistant Interest Group Chair:  Barbara Drake

NOTE, Fall 2021:  Some Interest Group meeting locations are still pending (in-person vs. Zoom).  Please contact individual group leader/s for the current location of their meetings.

      Complete Interest Group Meeting Schedule 2021-22  (pdf)

Click on any interest group below for more information, including meeting times, organizer contact, and a brief description of the activities.

Read what some of our interest groups are doing this year. (PDF posted February, 2019)

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Contact: Helen Read or Diane Smidt

The Antiques Interest Group pursues talks, tours, gallery visits, museum experiences, and some excursions out of town to points of mutual interest.  Come and join us!

Armchair Travelers

Bird Study

Fridays, 9:00 am (Spring and Fall)

Contact:  or Roma Lenehan or Jill Feldkamp

Walk different trails—observe birds and their habitats. Meet at the far western end of the parking lot at Covenant Presbyterian Church at the corner of Segoe Road and Mineral Point Roads.

Birding Activities (PDF)

Birding Schedule 2018-2019 (PDF)

Birding Schedule 2019-2020 (PDF)

Birding Schedule 2020-2021 (PDF)

Book Critics

Second Monday, 7:00 pm (September–May, plus July)

Contact: Frances Johnson

The group selects nine books in July to read throughout the year. A member reviews a book each month, followed by a general discussion. Meet in members’ homes or at Oakwood West.

Book Critics 2020-2021 Titles (PDF)

Book Critics Calendar 2019-20 (PDF)

Book Discussions

Bridge (1st and 3rd Thursday)

BRIDGE – First and third Thursday, 12:30 pm (year round)

Contact: Gennie Bostian

Play in members’ homes. Light refreshments are served by hostess.

Bridge (2nd Thursday)

BRIDGE- Second Thursday, 12:30 pm (year round)

Contact: Judy Stang

Bridge is played in the Party Room, Oakwood West Tower, 3rd floor.

Bridge (4th Thursday)

BRIDGE LUNCH – Fourth Thursday, 11:30 am (year round)

Contact: Katherine Masden

Bridge following lunch from the menu at Benvenuto’s Italian Grill (part of Holiday Inn), 1109 Fourier Drive, Madison. All levels of players welcome.

Dining Out Dinner

Fourth Saturday, 5:30 pm (year round)

Contact: Priscilla Thain

Meet at a restaurant for dinner, followed by dessert at home of host—or meet for an occasional brunch.

Dining Out Lunch

Fourth Wednesday, 11:45 am (Monthly, year round)

Contact: Kathy Knox

Members enjoy good food and good company and take turns planning lunch at area restaurants.

French Reading and Conversation

Second and fourth Wednesdays, 12:30–2:30 pm (September to May)

Contact: Paula Hogan or Jan Tymorek

General French conversation; use selected readings as basis for discussion. Starting in September 2020, meetings will be held on Zoom until further notice.

The books chosen for discussion in 2020-2021 are:

  • LaPeste, by Albert Camus
  • Bain de Lune, by Yanick Lahens

French Conversation II

Third Wednesday, 12:30 – 2:30 pm (September to May)

Contact: Anne Doherty

Members meet monthly for light refreshments and to engage in general conversation in French. Meetings are held in members’ homes or at public libraries. Selected readings may be used.


Fourth Monday, 7:00 pm, Oakwood West (September to May)

Contact: Catherine Tesar or Mary Jo Willis

Genealogy, General Info-2020-2021 (PDF)

Genealogy Programs, 2020-2021 (PDF)

Surnames Being Researched (PDF)

German Genealogy Links

International Foods Dinner

Second Sunday, 6:00 pm

Contact:  Sally Carpenter

We are a well organized dinner club that makes it possible to have wonderful and unique dinner parties in our homes.  The recipes are creative, tested and easy to prepare.  Conversation flows freely making these Sunday night dinners fun.

International Foods 2019-2020 Calendar (PDF)

International Foods 2018-2019 Calendar (PDF)

Mah Jongg

Every Tuesday, 9:30 am (year round)

3 members playing Mah JonggContact: Helen Lackore

Play the American version of Mah Jongg, an ancient Chinese game using tiles. We meet in the Game Room of the apartment/office building of Coventry Village Retirement Campus, located just off South High Point Road. New and experienced players are welcome, as well as those who wish to learn the game.

Movies in the Afternoon

Second Tuesday, ~4:00 pm

Contact: Roma Lenehan

Join friends once a month to view and discuss new movies at local theaters. Time and meeting location will vary depending on movie schedules. Singles and couples welcome.

Spanish Conversation

Second Thursday, 1:00–3:00 pm

Contact:  Joan Leffler

Informal group where members share experiences, conversation and read short articles or watch videos followed by discussion in Spanish.

NOTE:  During the summer of 2020, we will NOT meet in July and August.  Meetings will continue via Zoom on September 10, 2020.  New participants please contact Joan Leffler to add your email address to the group’s list.

Spanish Reading / Literature

First and third Thursday, 1:00–3:00 pm

Contact: Esther Bach-y-Rita or Daniel Hill

Join us anytime for reading and conversation of works by contemporary authors of the Spanish-speaking world.  You will be delighted to join the current group of participants–a fascinating and interesting group of native Spanish speakers from around the world along with non-native speakers interested in maintaining and improving their language skills.  Intermediate to advanced language fluency is recommended.

Meetings are held September to June.   Starting in September 2020, meetings will be held on Zoom until further notice.

The book chosen for our fall 2021 meetings (beginning September 2, 2021) is El Amor en Tiempos del Colera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Starting with the January 6, 2022 meeting, discussion will begin on Temperano de Huracanes, by Fernando Melchor.  This book will occupy the rest of our meetings up to and including June 16, when we end for the summer.


Technology is a newly formed Interest Group whose purpose is to educate and support members in their technology needs.

Since January 2021, we have been meeting the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. and may continue to do so for Spring 2021.  But please look for postings or announcements in case there are changes.  Once a permanent schedule has been decided, it will be posted to the University League website.

All meetings will take place on Zoom until further notice.

If interested in joining the Technology Interest Group, and/or to RSVP for meetings,  please contact Linda Baumann or Joan Leffler.

Wednesday December 9, 2020, 9:30 a.m.
*  Computer specialist Dave St. Amant will present, “Tips on using Zoom”

Wednesday January 6, 2021, 9:30 a.m.
*  Excel Basics, presented by Joan Leffler

Wednesday February 3, 2021, 9:30 a.m.
   *  Excel Part Two:  Printing, Column Spacing, and Excel Templates, presented by Joan Leffler

Wednesday March 3, 2021, 9:30 a.m.
   *   Excel Part Three:  Output options–Mailing labels, merge documents, envelopes

(Future meeting dates, times, and topics TBD)

Wine Divas and Dudes

Fourth Thursday, 4:30 – 6:30 pm (September through May)

Contact: Elaine Rosenblatt

Are you on a first-name basis with any Super Tuscans? Have you tried the wines of Lake County, California? Wine Divas & Dudes offers the opportunity to taste new and different wines while enjoying lively conversation. Each meeting centers on a wine theme.  Pre-Covid, one of several members volunteered to host a meeting, selecting the theme and supplying wine and appetizers.  Each attendee contributed $15 to help defray costs.

For the 2020-2021 season however, we will be Virtual.  Each meeting will be hosted by a member or group of members, but those participating will be responsible for their own wine and appetizers and no money will be collected.  (NOTE:  November and December are combined into a single meeting.  The date will be decided at either the September or October meeting.)


January 2019 (PDF)

January 2018 (PDF)

August 2017 (PDF)

August 2016 (PDF)

January 2015 (PDF)