Campus & Community

DU’s OLLI program earns $1 million grant

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver’s University College has received a $1 million grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation for its sustained success in creating lifelong educational opportunities for the Denver community.

Founded by Bernard Osher in 1977, OLLI has adult learning programs around the country. DU’s program started in 1996 and serves adults 50 and older who want to continue their education and study in a variety of fields in a noncompetitive environment.

The current program includes courses on nutrition, religion, art, economics, chess and yoga.  OLLI Director Vonnie Wheeler says the grant will allow the program to maintain its membership growth and add more programs, including classes in educational travel and a wellness program. Walking, hiking and biking groups are in the works, as is  an overnight geology canoe trip. The annual OLLI speaker series will also expand with added experts during its 8-week course.

“You have to be on the leading edge and answer the needs of people before they even know they have needs,” Wheeler says.

This shows in the program’s success. In 1996, OLLI had only 76 members and nine classes. This year, there are more than 2,000 members and 100 classes each term.

The University of Denver has three OLLI locations along the Front Range; the current membership fee is $100 per term.



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