AU Lifelong Learning program receives $100,000 grant and new name

AUBURN – Auburn University’s Academy for Lifelong Learners program in University Outreach, known to the east Alabama community for 17 years as AUall, received a $100, 000 grant in June from the Bernard Osher Foundation. Now part of the foundation’s national network, the program will be known as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, or OLLI at Auburn.

The grant was one of several made this year by the Osher Foundation to advance the interests of lifelong learning through universities. From this initial grant, Osher will review the program for future funding. Programs judged by the foundation standards as both successful and sustainable may be eligible to receive as much as $1 million in endowment grants.

The AUall program was organized in 1990 by Mary Burkhart, who conceived the program after attending a 1988 conference on programs for retirees. Now retired herself, Burkhart continues to serve as the program’s coordinator through the Outreach Program Office.

“Of all the things I have done in my 30-year career in higher education, AUall is the tops,” said Burkhart. “I’m very excited that we’re receiving this grant from the Osher Foundation and the opportunity to become part of its network of lifelong learning institutes across the nation.”

The renamed OLLI at Auburn program will continue to serve the more than 250 members in the east Alabama area. The program hosts a variety of study groups around an eclectic collection of subject matter. From Beethoven to biology and watercolor to the World Wars, members develop their own study plans and oversee presentations. The program is supported with membership dues. Member benefits include library privileges and study trips.

“This is one of our most successful programs at Auburn,” notes Royrickers Cook, assistant vice president for University Outreach. “The grant by the Bernard Osher Foundation is a tremendous stamp of approval for the program and recognition for the wonderful work of Dr. Burkhart and the AUall volunteers.”

OLLI at Auburn will hold a fair Monday, Aug. 13, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, to formally announce the grant award and to provide a preview of the 2007-08 program to existing and potential OLLI at Auburn members.

(Contributed by Ralph Foster.)

Contact: Mary Burkhart, (334) 844-3102 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (