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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members

OLLI@SCU Celebrates $1M Grant from the Osher Foundation

The College of Arts and Sciences is thrilled to announce a $1M grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute—OLLI@SCU.  This is the second million dollar grant from the Foundation—the first came in 2008. The endowment gift will help to ensure a long life for the program, which offers courses, special interest groups, learning through travel, and other means to support lifelong learning.

Director Andrea Saade leads the membership-based community of seasoned adults age 50 and better. Along with program assistant, Grace Perez, and more than 200 volunteers, she provides Santa Clara alumni and non-alumni alike the opportunity to continue learning and connecting with people as they approach – or are in – retirement age. 

In the classroom, course instruction is at the university level, but no particular educational background is required for membership. There are no tests, grades, or papers, although some classes may have some reading or other preparation. But who minds a little homework when you’re studying for classes like “Spies: A History of Espionage and Intelligence, 1900–2000” or “Legendary Composers of Broadway?”

Instructors are selectively vetted through the Curriculum Committee, and consist of current and retired faculty members, independent scholars, and field professionals. A key element of the vetting process includes previous feedback received from member evaluations.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is another learning opportunity. This series enables Osher members to hear about significant issues of the day from knowledgeable and sought out speakers. It has been an enormously popular program, with well-known, informed, and dynamic speakers who have covered such wide-ranging topics as medicine, politics, and the solar system. This spring, OLLI hosted Jeff Rosen, District Attorney of Santa Clara County, who addressed “The Challenge of Law Enforcement in Santa Clara County: Trust is the Game Changer That Brings Justice and Safety.”

OLLI’s Lifelong Learning through Travel program provides members, SCU Alumni, and friends and family of the University with an exciting combination of discovery, learning, and adventure through small group, educationally-focused travel. The first trip to be finalized for 2017 is a river cruise on the Danube River, open exclusively to OLLI programs across the country. This year Santa Clara members are also enjoying international trips to Ireland and Sicily, as well as domestic tours to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival and Chicago.

Additional offerings include Special Interest Groups or SIGs. A SIG is a group of OLLI members who gather outside of class time to provide learning or recreational opportunity in areas of personal interest. Special Interest Groups meet on a regular schedule, according to the needs of the group. SIGs are a very popular benefit of membership, as they are a great way to make new friends and socialize with members with similar interests. There is no additional fee to join any or all of the SIGs, and attendance is always optional.  There are currently 14 SIGs formed, with topics ranging from Aging Gracefully, to American History, Appassionati Italiani, and Cultural Cornucopia.

For more information about how to get involved with this dynamic program of lifelong learners visit the OLLI@SCU website.