Penn State, The Bernard Osher Foundation and OLLI
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at The Pennsylvania State University is one of 122 OLLIs serving more than 160,200 members “50 and better” nationwide. Each OLLI has been given an endowment by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Penn State received this endowment from the Foundation with the understanding that there are two locations for OLLI at Penn State, University Park and York. Each year, our OLLI receives a return of that endowment as a small portion of our income.
OLLIs are situated in every state and are all are affiliated with a college or university. Each OLLI is unique and operates as an independent initiative of its host institution with offerings tailored to meet the needs and interests of its community. However, all OLLIs share a common set of standards to encourage excellence and promote long-term sustainability and success:
- A diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating, non-credit courses and educational activities, specifically designed for people who are 50-years-old or older;
- Participants are offered membership and significant opportunities for volunteer engagement and leadership;
- Strong support from the host institution (including a commitment to provide space or cause space to be provided for program operations);
- Established mechanisms for evaluating member satisfaction with educational offerings; and
- A sound and stable organizational structure.
Dr. Eric Barron, President of Penn State , recently shared his vision for 2025. “Everybody is talking about promoting lifelong learning,” Barron said. “I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘We’re your university for life. You never leave us. You get different degrees, but you never leave us.’” He said he has a feeling this idea will catch on, but “not every university can pull this off. We have tremendous breadth; we have tremendous depth. We already have a world campus that is coming along. We have a lot of residential online courses. We’ve been thinking about lifelong learning for a while. We’re a robust institution.”
With Penn State as our partner, OLLI benefits from a list of comprehensive services including human resources, marketing, safety and security, computer and information services and facilities management.