University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

OLLI@UND receives $1 Million endowment from Bernard Osher Foundation

UND is pleased to announce that The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded a $1 million endowment for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI@UND). The endowment will allow the Institute to operate in perpetuity and demonstrates the program’s success in offering quality courses and educational opportunities for members aged 50 and older.

“We are thrilled at this $1 million endowment because there is a definite need for the program in North Dakota,” said President Robert Kelley. “This is a wonderful development for The University, OLLI@UND and its members who so strongly support this unique program. UND will continue developing creative educational programming for mature learners.”

With its first Osher Foundation grant of $100,000 in 2007, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute began the development of community-based lifelong learning programs for people 50 and older in the Grand Forks area. Continued funding led to the rapid expansion of OLLI into Bismarck in 2009 through a partnership with Bismarck State College (BSC). From an initial offering of a few courses with less than 20 students on the UND campus, Osher has grown to more than 580 members who have enjoyed more than 200 courses across the two primary sites: Grand Forks and Bismarck. Additional sites will be added to the state; Minot State University has expressed strong interest in the OLLI program already.

“UND and BSC have a long history of relationships, and we look forward to developing more,” said BSC President Larry Skogen, who was linked up to the press conference at UND through the statewide interactive video network. “The OLLI program is excellent for us because it’s part of our strategic plan to connect with lifelong learners. We rolled this program out to retirees in the area, and they absolutely love it. People tell me that they’re really happy to stay intellectually engaged. We’re really appreciated that UND delivered to us a wonderful program that meets all of our strategic needs.”

A small sampling of course subjects offered by faculty, faculty emeritus, and community experts includes Fall of the Roman Empire, Women in History: The Forgotten Ones, Hitler’s Steppe Children, Genealogy – From the Beginning, Introduction to Poetry, Politics of the Supreme Court, and Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. In addition to 6-week courses, the Institute’s varied learning formats include day trips, movies and discussion, free lectures, free tours and special events.

“This is a very exciting time for OLLI@UND,” said Lynette Krenelka, Director of OLLI. The Osher endowment will allow us to continue to lead the way in offering university-quality educational experiences for those who wish to learn for the sheer joy that comes from gathering together with your new found friends to discuss topics of which you have not yet explored.”

Connie Hodgson, OLLI Coordinator adds “Reaching this goal could not have been possible without the tenacity of its members, the overwhelming support of the University, the generosity of our partners and sponsors, and all of our incredible instructors.”

The Institute offers a $35 annual membership or $60 three-year membership. Classes cover subject areas in arts and humanities, politics, natural sciences and social sciences, art, recreation and wellness, and more.

Curious minds are welcome to join Osher and take part in the ever-evolving educational offerings and opportunities. Learn more by calling 777-3000 or visit our website at www.olli.und.edu/

-- David L. Dodds, writer/editor, University Relations, 777-5529, daviddodds@mail.und.edu.


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