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U of U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Keeps People 50 and Over Younger

February 27, 2007 — This spring, lifelong learners 50 and over in Salt Lake City and Bountiful have even more chances to learn together through the class offerings at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Mature adults will come together to explore their internal resources, find new dimensions for growth, and reexamine their histories beginning April 2. They’ll study together in courses they chose, developed specifically for them by subject experts. Thirty-four weekly classes and a variety of special events will be offered during the U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute spring term. Registration opens March 13.

For the first time ever, the Osher Institute will hold seven classes in the U of U Bountiful Campus location, at 75 East 200 South. University classes have been held at the historic Stoker School since 1981. The Bountiful campus offers free parking and a central downtown location for Osher members, and is easy to find from I-15. The spacious facility includes 17 classrooms, two study rooms, a gymnasium, two ceramics studios, and a computer lab with 22 computers. The Osher Institute staff will kick off the spring term in Bountiful with three Open House events on March 7, 15, and 22, including four sample classes: The Wonders of Ancient China, The Nia® Technique, The Heart of Darkness, and Introduction to Computers. Community members will be able to preview these spring classes, learn more about the program, and tour this new location. The public is welcome, and RSVPs are not required. Open House events will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day, with staff on hand to answer questions and take registrations.

According to Cathy House, Osher Institute director, “Older learners have incredible new lenses that illuminate life experiences and lessons. Watching our Osher Institute members interact simply debunks the stereotypes of ‘aging’-our members continue to grow and thrive as they learn with each other. The Bountiful campus is extremely conducive to learning and will only enhance the program and the members’ experiences.”

Many exciting new classes will spice up Osher members’ learning experiences in both locations this term, including The Grapes of Wrath – The Book and the Opera, held in conjunction with the Utah Opera Company’s world premiere of the new The Grapes of Wrath opera. Members will first explore Steinbeck’s novel, then hear a presentation from The Utah Opera Company on the adaptation of the novel into an opera. Finally, they will attend both a preview and an evening performance of the opera with the class. As in Steinbeck’s time, the economic realities of our own era often clash with environmental forces bringing new relevance to this fine work.

The Nia® Technique: Embrace Your Body’s Wisdom is a fascinating new movement class that focuses on the joy of movement. Nia (Neuromuscular Integrative Action) is an expressive movement practice that uses a technique called “The Body’s Way” to achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness and well-being and to increase one’s personal power. Nia is adaptable to every level of fitness, and to every age and type of body, even those with special limitations.

Finally, in Political Literacy & Democratic Citizenship, Osher members will learn more about democracy and how we can more effectively participate in public affairs and become engaged in public policy discussions and decisions. The class will hone critical thinking, communication, consensus building, networking, and peer-based deliberation skills and help students develop an appreciation for the diversity of cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions.

Many other new classes and returning favorites will cover topics such as foreign languages, religion, recreation, hands-on art and photography, home and garden, history, writing, technology and computers, music, wildlife and geology, the environment, and personal development. All classes are taught by current and emeritus University of Utah faculty members and experts from the community.

The Osher Institute offers three, six-week sessions annually, with most courses held during the day at historic Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and at the U of U Campus in downtown Bountiful. Classes meet once or twice a week for one and a half to two hours. Courses are specifically developed for learners age 50 and over by a curriculum committee made up of Osher members.

Osher students have several membership options. Membership entitles Osher Institute students to benefits such as discounts at Kingsbury Hall and on Technology Education courses at the U; free entrance to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Museum of Natural History, and Red Butte Garden; and access to campus libraries. In addition, members and their guests can participate in various special events, University lectures, films, and tours. Gift certificates can also be purchased for membership in the program.

Funded primarily by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University joins over 100 other campuses in providing education outreach to older community members. The U’s program, the only Osher Institute in Utah, is also sponsored by the University Health Sciences Center and Osher members. Community Partners include the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Red Butte Garden, and the U Alumni Association. The Osher Institute is part of the Academic Outreach and Continuing Education division at the University of Utah, which enriches the lives of people of all ages in the greater community and beyond by providing extraordinary learning opportunities from the University of Utah.

More information on courses, membership, special events, and the Osher Institute may be obtained by calling 801-585-5442 or by visiting