Office of the Chancellor


E-mail and search functions

Main navigation

Campus Highlights:




Tertiary navigation

Student Round barn Alma Mater


Second major endowment for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Illinois

12/18/2012  8:00 am

The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded $1 million to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to endow and support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the U of I. This is the second $1 million endowment the foundation has given to OLLI, a member-driven program dedicated to the pursuit of lifelong learning.

                In announcing the gift, Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman pointed out that the U of I institute has experienced exceptional growth since its inception in 2007. “We recognize that the Institute’s success represents the collective achievements of its excellent staff and dynamic community of intellectually vigorous members who give generously of their time, talent, and financial resources,” Bitterman said. “We applaud the university’s leadership for its steadfast support of the program and for embracing the notion that – at its best – education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to elevate, delight and forge connections to each other and to a larger world.”

                OLLI director Christine Catanzarite said, “I am extraordinarily grateful to The Bernard Osher Foundation for this generous support of OLLI at Illinois – and for promoting a vision of curiosity and discovery as a lifelong project. Our members are actively engaged in shaping the contours of our Institute, and our campus and community partners share in the intellectual and social benefits of our programs. This endowment from the Osher Foundation will resonate deeply with everyone affiliated with OLLI at Illinois as we continue to grow.”

                OLLI at Illinois began in the fall of 2007 with 11 courses and 297 members. It now has more than 1,000 members and will offer 36 courses in the spring of 2013. In addition to classes, OLLI offers programs and activities that include lectures, study groups, travel opportunities and collaborations with the campus and community. The collaborations include special programs developed for OLLI members by the U of I Library’s renowned Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the innovative Citizen Scientist Program, in which OLLI members serve as research volunteers in laboratories at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Institute for Genomic Biology.

                The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois is part of a network of 115 non-credit, personal enrichment educational programs for mature adults supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation located at colleges and universities across the United States. Nearly 113,000 people currently participate in OLLI programs.

Contact: Christine Catanzarite (, 217-244-9141)