The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at OU is one of 120 similar institutes at university campuses across the nation designed to offer classroom instruction to individuals age 50 and above by university professors at affordable prices.

OLLI at OU is dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and personal growth of older adults through a variety of noncredit courses ranging from single-meeting offerings from the “Mornings with the Professor” list to longer, multiple-class courses called “Senior Seminars.” The goal of OLLI is to create an innovative learning environment that fosters learning through socialization of members and classroom discussion.

Through the leadership of OU President David L. Boren and a $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation, OLLI at OU became a reality in 2006. A program which started with only a handful of courses in the beginning, now offers more than 50 and the program which celebrated growth to 500 members in 2010 is now approaching 1,000. The program is currently working toward a second $1 million for the institute and is proud to name President and Molly Shi Boren as members of OLLI at OU.

The Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco, Calif. seeks to improve quality of life through the support of lifelong learning institutes such as the one at the University of Oklahoma. Founded in 1977 by its namesake, Bernard Osher, the foundation has funded OLLI sites at college and university campuses across the nation.

“Our goal is for our members to learn something new and enjoy themselves through interaction and socialization,” OLLI at OU director Chris Elliott said. “We try to offer something for everyone.”

With more than 50 courses available, OLLI had a wide offering of subjects to choose from.

Mornings with the Professor classes are offered Tuesday mornings at a cost of $5 from 9:30 – 11 a.m. with subjects like, “Thirteen Years Later: How 9/11 Changed The U.S. Military Forever,” “Calligraphy: The World of Lettering,” and “Fallacies: Don’t Get Duped.” A recent popular class presented by Rep. Dan Boren featured frank discussions between Rep. Boren and his father, OU President and former Sen. David Boren about their respective experiences in Washington D.C. titled “Congress as Experienced by my Grandfather, my Father and by Me.”

Senior Seminars are offered through the week at differing times touching on subjects too numerous to list in areas like art, humanities, economics, history, entertainment, literature, music and meditation. Two of the most popular classes every time they are offered are “iPhone Basics,” and “iPad Basics” wherein students learn to navigate the technology to make phone calls, send text messages, take photos, communicate via email, browse the internet, video and link with other Apple devices.

Annual memberships are $40 and are valid from July 1 – June 30. OLLI courses are open to anyone age 50 or above and membership is required to enroll in any courses. Membership benefits include:

- The satisfaction of supporting OLLI at OU while enjoying engaging courses from some of the university’s most interesting faculty.

- Being part of a social network that allows members to interact with peers of a similar age and background.

- An invitation to a literary festival each semester sponsored by “World Literature Today” magazine. The festival hosts events such as talks by a visiting writer, panel discussions, theatre performances, musical performances, etc.

- Invitations to programs, public lectures and forums with OU’s Carl Albert Center.

- A parking tag used to attend OLLI at OU courses.

- An OLLI at OU identification card that allows members access to all OLLI programs and usage of the Bizzell Library on campus.

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