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Washington University Joins the Osher Network of Lifelong Learning Institutes

With funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation, Washington University’s Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) has become the newest member of the national network of Osher Institutes. As a result, the program will now be known as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University in St. Louis (OLLI). With the addition of Washington University’s program, the Osher Foundation now supports 123 lifelong learning institutes on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

OLLI at Washington University offers a wide variety of not-for-credit courses that emphasize peer learning and active class participation by senior adults. The program’s course listings include offerings in art and architecture, contemporary issues, creative writing, economics, film studies, history, literature, math, science, technology, music, and philosophy. Knowledgeable members plan, develop, and present the courses and related field trips, workshops, and cultural and social events. The new funding will provide additional opportunities to further develop the program.

OLLI functions as part of the School of Continuing & Professional Studies (formerly University College). Dean Mark Rollins, PhD, remarked on the importance of the new partnership. “The grant from the Osher Foundation is a major contribution to the fundamental mission of School of Continuing & Professional Studies, which is to provide opportunities for continuing education in various forms and promote learning for life,” said Rollins. “The Institute is a significant asset to Washington University. With this funding, it can expand its rich academic programming and reach even more people in the community.”

Katie Compton, the director of LLI, is excited about the possibilities to enlarge the learning program’s community. “We are proud of the national recognition that our well-established Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University has received. With funding from the Osher Foundation, our LLI will renovate two additional classrooms in our building and expand our marketing efforts, enabling us to grow and flourish in the community,” said Compton. “Becoming an Osher Institute also means that, as a participant in a national consortium of university-based lifelong learning programs, we are part of a wonderful group with whom we can exchange ideas.”

“We are delighted to support Washington University’s excellent lifelong learning program,” said Osher Foundation President, Mary Bitterman. “We warmly welcome the dedicated members of its learning community to the national Osher Institute network and look forward to their continuing contributions to the field of lifelong learning. We also trust that they will benefit from a lively engagement with colleagues on 123 campuses from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska.”

The Bernard Osher Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 1977 by businessman and community leader Bernard Osher. The Foundation seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts.

Interested in learning more?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, please contact Katie Compton at or visit