AUBURN – The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, known as OLLI at Auburn, was recently awarded a $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The gift was given in recognition of programming excellence and demonstrating potential for long-term success and sustainability.
OLLI at Auburn has more than 700 members who can choose from more than 150 classes annually and from many other activities such as special lectures, socials and trips. This peer-led organization relies on members, guest speakers and Auburn faculty to teach and moderate courses with books, film and recordings.
In 1989, Mary Burkhart, founding director, formed the Auburn University Academy for Lifelong Learners, or AUALL. In 2007, AUALL received a grant from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and was renamed OLLI at Auburn.
“In many ways life is an educational journey,” said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. “The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute enriches that journey for its members. We are fortunate to have OLLI on our campus and grateful for the way it enhances Auburn University’s service to the state and beyond.”
OLLI at Auburn does not receive state funds. The income from the new endowment will provide about 30 percent of the annual budget with member fees accounting for an additional 30 percent. Additional funding is still needed annually for OLLI at Auburn to continue to provide its services.
“This award is very generous, and serves an important need for OLLI at Auburn,” said Burkhart. “Our program has provided wonderful learning opportunities for mature adults for more than 20 years. OLLI at Auburn is a member-led organization, one focused around the love of learning and the sheer pleasure and joy that come from expanding one’s knowledge.”
“The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to recognize the accomplishments of OLLI at Auburn with this endowment gift,” said Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “We are pleased to have the Auburn OLLI within our network. We extend our congratulations to the university and the volunteer leadership of this fine program.”