$1 Million in New Funding for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State University

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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at San Diego State University has just received a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation to secure its future and support continued growth for a program open to community members 50 years of age or “better.”

The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to recognize the accomplishments of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State University with this endowment gift

San Diego State University (SDSU) is now part of an exclusive network of universities whose lifelong learning programs have received significant private support.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SDSU is one of 117 in the nation to receive a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation to secure its future and support continued growth.

The gift coincides with the 10th anniversary of OLLI at SDSU, which offers university-quality courses without tests or grades to San Diego community members 50 years of age or “better.” SDSU President Elliot Hirshman announced the gift during an anniversary celebration Saturday morning at the university’s Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

“We are deeply grateful to Bernie Osher, Mary Bitterman and the entire staff of The Bernard Osher Foundation for their extremely generous support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State. Through their endowment support, San Diego State will provide opportunities for lifelong learning and enrichment to members of our community in perpetuity.”

In the last decade, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SDSU has expanded to include 700 members and more than 145 course offerings annually.

Many SDSU faculty are among the instructors, lecturing on a wide variety of subjects including history, theatre, world affairs, literature, political science, cultural studies, and creative arts.
Courses are offered through the SDSU’s College of Extended Studies (CES), and the OLLI is operated by CES staff, supported by Osher Institute volunteers, including an advisory board and four committees.

“The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to recognize the accomplishments of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State University with this endowment gift,” said Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation. “We applaud the Institute’s dedicated volunteers and staff – as well as the leadership of the University – for developing such an exceptional educational program.”

The 2015 spring course schedule highlights local and state history with a lecture and a book club about the Panama-California Exposition staged in San Diego a century ago.

Another new offering for OLLI members affords an opportunity to join the College of Extended Studies’ October 2015 study abroad program in Spain. The nine-day course examines the wine and cuisine of Spain’s Catalan, Rioja and Basque regions.

At the celebration Saturday morning, students and prospective students had an opportunity to meet course instructors and view a video of highlights from the first decade of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SDSU.

The Bernard Osher Foundation makes grants and endowment gifts to colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations in four program areas: post-secondary scholarships, lifelong learning institutes for seasoned adults, select integrative medicine programs, and arts and educational organizations.

The foundation currently supports 119 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Initial grants of $100,000 have been made with the understanding that once a lifelong learning institute is launched, the foundation would consider renewal of the grant for two or more years with a view to providing an endowment gift of no less than $1 million if the institute was able to demonstrate potential for success and sustainability.

SDSU's College of Extended Studies reaches out to San Diego, the nation, and the world with a wide variety of lifelong learning opportunities, and more than 50 certificate programs for career advancement. Topics range from contract management, construction, and craft beer, to grant writing, marketing, and human resources. And many programs are available online. The CES also offers one of the largest ESL programs in the U.S. through the American Language Institute; and university-quality courses to students age 50 and better through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Other opportunities include seminars, study abroad, corporate education and access to regular SDSU classes through Open University. For more information or to register, visit neverstoplearning.net or call (619) 265-7378 (SDSU).

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Rhonda Beard
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