Bill Early teaching the BULLI Fiction Fraught with Fact class in the Jacobs Building on Brenau University's Gainesville campus.

BULLI for you

Robin Terrell had just retired in 2007 when a friend of his wife, Tricia, recommended that he attend classes through Brenau University’s BULLI program. Although skeptical, Terrell gave it a try. Not only was he hooked, but also he reeled in his wife. They both take classes each semester.

Shorthand for Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute, BULLI offers non-credit, academically oriented classes. Although anyone can join, BULLI members are almost all retirees. In each of the three semesters a year the courses cover a diversity of topics from the academic to the technical, from recreational to the arts. No college experience is required. There are no tests and no college credit. The program celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.

Kathy Amos, a program creator and its only director, says she hoped 75 people might show up for the first registration in August 1994. However, more than 100 came that first day, and by the end of the first year, 175 had enrolled.

Bulli Class
Heyward Gnann teaches a BULLI class

Today, the program boasts more than 300 members, who this semester alone are taking classes from the Italian Renaissance and great cities of the world to the changing role of women and Fred Astaire musicals. You can take as many as 13 a year with as much variety as you choose.

The member-run organization, which operates in Gainesville on campus and in Braselton in city government facilities, includes about 70 members who actively volunteer on committees to set curriculum, line up teachers and mail out registration information. However, staff and members insist that what keeps people coming back is the variety of the courses and the quality of the faculty.

In addition to occasional appearances by university professors, BULLI teachers include a wide range of volunteer instructors, many of them BULLI members, who teach both from professional expertise and personal passion. One of the most popular, for example, is Rev. Bill Coates. The First Baptist Church pastor, who has a doctorate in American literature, may offer up a course on comparative religion or very secular modern poetry.

BULLI House, 406 Academy St., Gainesville, Ga.
BULLI House, 406 Academy St., Gainesville, Ga.

“I’m amazed at what we have been able to offer,” said BULLI member Bill Early, who currently serves as chairman of the curriculum committee. “If you don’t see something that interests you this semester, you will next semester.”

The learn more about upcoming BULLI programs, go to


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