The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia offers educational opportunities and intellectual enrichment to active adults in the community. The institute is member-directed and draws upon its members’ resources, as well as other academic and community resources, to organize courses and other educational activities. In this stimulating environment, members acquire new knowledge, explore ideas, exercise creativity, and share interests and expertise with others.
Established in 2001, OLLI was originally the Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning (JILL). In June 2007, JILL received a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation and changed the name to OLLI. In 2003, OLLI received a second grant of $25,000, making it one of the few, elite OLLIs to receive such a grant. Through the affiliation with the OLLI National Resource Center, networking is made available with the more than 120 OLLIs nationwide.
We are now celebrating 16 years of OLLI courses–and still growing strong! OLLI started with 17 instructors and 98 student participants in 2001. By the spring of 2011, there were 63 instructors and 684 student participants. In the past academic year (2016-17), OLLI at UVa offered 165 courses, taught by 176 instructors, and these courses were attended by approximately 1,900 student participants. In February of 2016, OLLI at UVa celebrated 15 years of lifelong learning! Knowing that projections for 2020 show that the population of the Charlottesville area will grow by 12% and the Valley area will grow by 7%, OLLI at UVa will grow right along with the projected growth of the area.