Welcome to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arkansas!
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute was established at the University of Arkansas in 2007; a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation enables the University of Arkansas to provide an affordable educational experience. OLLI at the U of A offers a variety of courses and special events to its members – adults over 50 who come together in a lively learning environment to explore intellectual and cultural topics of interest, share their experiences and talents, and make new friends.
Courses and events cover thought-provoking and wide ranging topics from global events to the arts, from history to health science research, to important local and worldwide issues of the day. There’s no pressure of tests or grades and no papers to write. Classes are held on the University of Arkansas campus, Fayetteville, Rogers, and other sites throughout Northwest Arkansas. Workshops and special events are led by current and retired UA faculty and community experts.
Get a better look at OLLI – Watch the video!
The Bernard Osher Foundation
The Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader. The Foundation is headquartered in San Francisco, California and seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts.
The Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students. It also benefits programs in integrative medicine in the United States and Sweden, including centers at the University of California, San Francisco; Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. In addition, the Foundation supports a growing national lifelong learning network for seasoned adults. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, operating on campuses of institutions of higher education from Maine to Hawaii, have a National Resource Center at the University of Southern Maine. Finally, an array of performing arts organizations, museums, and selected educational programs in Northern California and in Mr. Osher’s native state of Maine receive Foundation grants.
Tbe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Program
In the fall of 2000, the Foundation began to consider programs targeted toward more mature students, not necessarily well served by the standard continuing education curriculum. Courses in such programs attract students of all ages eager to accumulate units to complete degrees or to acquire career upgrade skills. By contrast, the interest of more senior students, many of whom are at retirement age, is in learning for the joy of learning – without homework or examinations.
Beginning in the fall of 2002, the Foundation issued Requests for Proposals to campuses in the CSU and University of California system. Each program is provided with an initial grant of $100,000 for each of three years with an eventual endowment of $1 million should the program demonstrate potential for success and sustainability. At present, the Foundation supports 121 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one program in each of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia). The Foundation also supports a National Resource Center for the Institutes at the University of Southern Maine.
There is considerable variation among the Osher Institutes but the common threads remain: Non-credit educational programs specifically developed for seasoned adults who are aged 50 and older; university connection and university support; robust volunteer leadership and sound organizational structure; and a diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating courses.
The National Resource Center
The National Resource Center for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes is headquartered at the University of Southern Maine (USM) and serves as the national center for the current network of 121 lifelong learning institutes throughout the nation. It plays a lead role in disseminating information on effective educational programming for older learners and in addition to providing information and connections via a web site, the Resource Center publishes a national research journal, plans an annual national conference, and provides a number of other ways for OLLIs to connect with one another.
The Bernard Osher Foundation designated the Osher Institute at USM as the National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in 2004. The Center is not a governance body, but is rather a center for excellence and dissemination of best practice models. Each Osher Institute reflects the culture of its own university and its learning community. The National Resource Center exists to facilitate the exchange of opinions, solutions and experiences among institutes throughout the country so that all can benefit.
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
- Director: Susan Tonymon
- Assistant Director: Sandra Sawyer
- Part-time Office Assistant: Suzanne Murphy
- Part-time Office Assistant: Essie Anderson
- Office Volunteers: Connie Johnson & Lou Whisenhunt
- Walk-in: OLLI
2 E Center Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
- Phone: 479-575-4545
- Cash: In person only (accepted in the office)
- Check: In person (accepted in the office) or by mail
- Credit card payments can be accepted online
Sent via e-mail, so be sure to provide a valid address on your registration form.
To make parking easier for classes held at the Global Campus in Fayetteville, a parking code will be issued for the Town Center Parking Garage. The garage is located on the corner of East and Rock Streets, on the south side of the square. Your code will be sent to you upon registration of classes (please double check your e-mail).
Missing a Class:
If you miss the first meeting of a class, please call the OLLI office at 479-575-4545 to learn whether the next meeting location or time has been changed. If you register for a class and decide not to attend, please call us to let us know. We have many classes with waiting lists and want to accommodate our members.
Annual Membership Options:
- Couple (Any two people sharing the same home address) – $80.00
- Single – $50.00
- Single for Active Arkansas Alumni Association Members – $40.00
- Advanced notice of OLLI programs
- Bi-weekly e-mail updates on campus and community activities
- Discount OLLI program prices (some even free), and discounted tickets to select performances at local partners
- A one-time discounted Arkansas Alumni Association membership
- Student ticket prices for UA music events
- Discounts at the UA bookstore and computer store
- And now better than ever – your membership is tax deductible
- 40 percent discount at UA Press
Creating a community of learners is an important aspect of all OLLI organizations. A great way to get involved is volunteering within the organization’s various areas. The following are descriptions of OLLI committees at the U of A.
The purpose of this committee is to develop and evaluate course proposals for upcoming semesters; to ensure quality programs are devised for our members; to develop special events and interest groups; to identify and contact possible instructors and presenters; and to gather member interests’ information. This committee meets the first Wednesday of each month for 2 to 3 hours.
Current committee members: Hugh Earnest (Chairperson), Myrna Martin, Trisha Beland, Dorothy Mangold, Lavania Fritts, Rick Hinterthuer, Phil Zimmerman, Taylor Hurst, Georgena Duncan
The OLLI Advisory Committee is made up of Committee Chairs and At-Large Members. Its purpose is to define, review, and update Committee responsibilities, review the performance of the OLLI program, and report recommendations to OLLI staff.
Current committee members: Tom Paradise, Denise Garner, Mitchell Spearman, Mike Adelman, Bob Groom
The Membership Committee works to engage and strengthen the OLLI member network through focus on recruitment, orientation, and retention; as well as communicating to members and representing member interests to OLLI staff. They meet approximately once per month.
Current committee members: Tim Schatzman (Chairperson), Fred Paillet, Susan Lancaster, Matt Musial, Sarah Thompson, Brooks Garner
Retired Faculty Committee
The Retired Faculty committee is responsible for recruiting emeritus faculty members from the Northwest Arkansas University settings as potential instructors. They are responsible for building and maintaining relationships and networks with the current academic units within the areas’ Universities.
Current committee members: Linda Leavell (Chairperson), Rose Gergerich, Malcolm Cleveland, Ann Henry
Volunteers for the Social Committee work together to create and develop opportunities for OLLI members to interact and get to know each other outside of the classroom. Committee members propose, plan, and coordinate events, outings, and special interest groups. This could involve socializing before and after class meetings and/or joining together to attend cultural events such as concerts, plays, art exhibitions, lecture series, etc. offered by other organizations.
If you are interested in serving on one of our committees, or would like more information, please contact our office at 479.575.4545
The Bernard Osher Foundation supports 121 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one program in each of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia)!
University of Missouri – Columbia*
University of Montana*
University of Nebraska*
University of Nevada, Las Vegas*
University of Nevada, Reno*
University of New Mexico*
University of North Carolina, Wilmington*
University of North Dakota
University of North Florida*
University of Oklahoma*
University of Oregon*
University of Pittsburgh*
University of Rhode Island
University of Richmond*
University of South Carolina Beaufort*
University of South Dakota, University Center*
University of South Florida*
University of Southern Maine*
University of Southern Mississippi*
University of Texas at Austin*
University of Texas at El Paso*
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston*
University of the Pacific*
University of Utah*
University of Vermont*
University of Virginia*
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee*
West Virginia University*
Yavapai College*Institutes with asterisks have received endowments.