Society & Culture

UGA’s lifelong learning institute receives $1 million endowment

Athens, Ga. – The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Georgia has received a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead read a letter from Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman announcing the endowment at the organization’s holiday party Dec. 12.

“This generous gift from the Osher Foundation continues that organization’s support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Georgia, and will allow us to extend the reach and impact of the Institute’s programming,” said Morehead. “OLLI is one of UGA’s most popular and effective programs, and we are very grateful to the foundation’s president, Mary Bitterman, and the board for their support.”

This is the second $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation. The first grant was received in January 2009. In November 2011, the UGA chapter received its first $1 million endowment from the foundation. The $2 million in endowments will continue to help provide the financial resources needed to achieve OLLI’s mission of meeting the intellectual, social and cultural needs of mature adults through lifelong learning.

The organization that is now the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UGA began in 1994 as Learning in Retirement Inc. It started with a small group of community leaders interested in expanding services for seasoned residents of Athens-Clarke and surrounding counties. In February 2009, the organization became the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Georgia. UGA’s OLLI chapter now has more than 1,000 members and offers a wide array of activities each year, including courses on architecture, computers, opera, books, science, politics and the paranormal. OLLI at UGA also offers luncheon programs, social events, special interest groups and travel study programs to locations across the state and country.

OLLI at UGA is a member of the national Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network. Osher Institutes provide non-credit educational programs specifically developed for adults who are aged 50 and older. The chapters have a university connection and university support, volunteer leadership and a sound organizational structure, and a diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating courses.

“The continued growth of the lifelong learning program at the University of Georgia since the Foundation made its first grant award in January 2009 has been exceptional, and we salute you on providing yet another year of outstanding educational services to seasoned adults in the Athens area,” said Bitterman in the letter Morehead read.

“We sincerely appreciate the Osher Foundation’s continued support of OLLI at UGA,” said Craig H. Kennedy, dean of the College of Education. “OLLI at UGA is a tremendous resource to the College of Education, the university and the community, and its members clearly demonstrate the fact that learning is not confined to the early years but takes place throughout life.”

More information about OLLI at UGA and ways to become involved can be found at