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$1 Million Gift Promotes Lifelong Learning at UNLV

Grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation supports UNLV program that offers courses to more than 1,500 retired and semi-retired Southern Nevadans each year.
Campus News  |  Nov 18, 2015  |  By Marian Alper
Media Contact: LaNelda Rolley (702) 895-5168; lanelda.rolley@unlv.edu
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNLV holds its annual open house

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNLV holds its annual open house August 29, 2015 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

The nearly 1,500 retired and semi-retired students who attend classes at UNLV’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) will benefit from a recent $1 million grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation.

OLLI at UNLV offers courses to mature learners age 50+ in Southern Nevada who are interested in continuing to grow intellectually, physically, and socially. This gift is the second $1 million endowment provided by the Osher Foundation to OLLI at UNLV. Its purpose is to promote sustainability and the long-term success of the program.

“We are delighted and honored to receive this grant,” said Peg Rees, vice provost for educational outreach at UNLV. “It is a show of confidence in the dedication, hard work, and integrity of OLLI members, class coordinators, volunteers, and university staff. It will allow OLLI at UNLV to strengthen our community by bringing together people who passionately believe that education is a lifelong pursuit.”

OLLI at UNLV offers more than 200 classes annually on UNLV’s Paradise campus as well as seven satellite campus locations. Class coordinators are OLLI members who participate in a peer-learning model on a volunteer basis; many are retired professors, professionals, and practitioners from a huge array of fields. OLLI members contribute to the overall vitality of the broader university by serving as English as a Second Language tutors, participating in research studies related to aging, and volunteering for the UNLV Office of Veteran Services.

“From Classical Mythology to Science Fiction Films of the 1950s to Line Dancing, we’ve got a course to cater to just about any interest imaginable,” said Cathy Lowe, president of OLLI’s UNLV Board of Directors. “Our offerings are as diverse as our membership.” 

It is a membership that is highly engaged. In 2014, OLLI implemented its first fundraising campaign and exceeded its goal by raising close to $35,000 from 575 donors.

“The progress of the program since receiving its initial grant in 2005 has been remarkable,” said Osher Foundation president Mary Bitterman. “We salute the Institute’s dedicated and generous members — as well as the University’s leadership and staff — for creating an outstanding educational program of great variety for seasoned adults in Las Vegas and beyond. We are delighted to provide this additional support.”