LSU Continuing Education Receives $1 Million from the Bernard Osher Foundation

04/10/2013 10:59 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU Continuing Education celebrated a $1 million award from The Bernard Osher Foundation to support and endow the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or OLLI at LSU. LSU Interim President and Chancellor William Jenkins hosted a reception Tuesday evening, April 2, in Pleasant Hall, where he spoke to a group of OLLI members, staff and volunteers about the value of lifelong learning. 

The gift, awarded to OLLI at LSU by the Osher Foundation for demonstrating programming excellence and sustainability, will help to expand the Institute. It is the second large endowment award from the foundation, following an endowment gift of $1 million provided in 2010.

OLLI at LSU, a membership-based community of adults age 50 and older, fosters lifelong learning through courses, informal gatherings, field trips and nature walks designed to challenge, inform and enrich. The Institute stimulates minds and enhances enthusiasm for learning and creative expression.

“The progress the program has made since receiving an initial grant in 2006 has been outstanding,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “We salute the leadership of Louisiana State University for supporting the program’s development and congratulate the Institute’s dedicated volunteers and staff on their success. We are delighted to provide this additional support.”

OLLI at LSU is one of 117 lifelong programs located on university and college campuses across the country supported by the Osher Foundation. Over the past five years, in addition to the endowment gifts, the foundation has provided OLLI at LSU with grants totaling $375,000.

“This gift will strengthen our ability to keep course costs and membership fees low while continuing to serve the intellectual and social needs of adult learners throughout southern Louisiana,” said Wendy Overton, director of OLLI at LSU. “As the flagship university of Louisiana, it is part of LSU’s mission to promote lifelong learning to those outside the University.”

OLLI at LSU encompasses six chapters: the Lagniappe Studies Unlimited and St. James Place chapters offer courses in Baton Rouge, and the Felicianas chapter serves East and West Feliciana parishes. Other chapters include Ascension, in Gonzales; Assumption, in Pierre Part; and Cajun Prairie, in Eunice.

Founded within LSU Continuing Education in 1995, the program has more than 1,300 members and last year conducted almost 200 programs, attracting 3,300 course and special event registrations. Recent OLLI courses included “The Criminal Justice System,” “Le ti’ Goutte de Vin: Tasting Louisiana Wines,” “Acrylic Painting Techniques,” and “Written in Stone: Exploring Vertebrate Fossils.”

For more information about OLLI at LSU, call 225-578-6763 or visit     

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2013