$1 Million Awarded to USF's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

TAMPA, FL (Jan. 29, 2008) -- The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Florida (OLLI-USF) will use a $1 million endowment by The Bernard Osher Foundation to advance lifelong learning opportunities for older adults in the Tampa area. The endowment was awarded on the basis of demonstrated success, university support, and community participation.

USF’s award was one of nine endowment awards given in December 2007 by the Osher Foundation to universities around the country, including The American University, Clemson, and Texas Tech. The endowment was awarded nearly three years after USF received its first Osher Foundation grant establishing the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2005.

“Lifelong learning has never been more important than it is during this age of rapidly evolving technology,” says Ara Rogers, OLLI-USF director. “We currently serve over 1,000 members annually. This generous endowment will enable us to enhance outreach to the community so that even more older adults can continue learning.”

Rogers also notes that the USF program is entirely self-supported, making the Osher endowment even more important to the Institute and to Tampa Bay seniors. 

“The Osher award is a clear recognition of the strength and vitality of the USF program, which is one of the oldest senior programs in Florida, and re-affirms the university’s commitment to community outreach and engagement,” notes Kathleen Moore, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Educational Outreach. “This award is certainly a tribute to the staff, members and hundreds of volunteers who make this outstanding program possible.”

OLLI-USF is a learning community of older adults, who volunteer their efforts, energy and time. Since 1993, USF has offered senior programs, which include computer and technology education via its SeniorNet learning center and study groups in the arts, sciences and humanities. Programs operate on a peer-learning model that values the life experience of OLLI-USF members, who develop and teach many of the Institute’s offerings. To learn more about OLLI-USF, call 813/974-5263. Information is also available on the web at www.usfseniors.org.

The Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by California businessman Bernard Osher. Among other initiatives, the Foundation supports university programs nationwide that offer intellectually stimulating learning for older adults.