OLLI at UVa History and Growth

Founded to further lifelong learning.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia (OLLI at UVa) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that was started by people who came together because of their desire to continue to learn and explore in interaction with other active adults. The founders became aware of other lifelong learning programs from which they could borrow ideas, and the Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning (JILL) was organized and began offering courses in February of 2001. The University of Virginia gave JILL a grant of $25,000 to encourage startup, and in 2005, the organization became a University-related foundation. In June 2007, JILL received a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation and changed the name to OLLI as required by the terms of the grant. 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.

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 (2014-15), OLLI at UVa offered 135 courses, taught by approximately 129 instructors, and these courses were attended by over 1,600 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 gr0w by 12% and the Valley area will grow by 7%, OLLI at UVa will grow right along with the projected growth of the area!