UMC Links

U of U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Offers Numerous, Diverse Courses for Spring

April 6, 2006 — This spring, mature learners at the University of Utah will study together in courses developed specifically for them. Twenty-two weekly classes will be offered through the U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, beginning Apr.17. More information on courses, membership and the Osher Institute may be obtained by calling 801-585-5442 or by visiting

“Many students, age 50 and older, who seek lifelong learning and enriching educational experiences find fulfilling courses in our program. And many University alumni enjoy being back on campus again,” notes Cathy House, director of the Osher Institute.

One Osher course, “Arts, Crafts and Culture of Japan” will focus on “mingei,” or art of the people. Students will explore the historical context in which Japanese art exists within culture, society and politics, traditional Buddhism, landscape in painting and garden design, historical narratives, scenes of ordinary life and decorative and useful household objects such as ceramics, basketry, lacquer, textiles-even toys. Students will examine how the unique mingei tradition develops and changes through the ages and interacts with other traditions of art.

Some of the Osher courses, like “Utah”s Natural History”, include field trips. In this course students will be introduced to the history and issues that affect human activities and understanding of the natural world. Field trips will feature aspects of up to four of Utah’s distinct bio-geographical regions and the unique life forms that inhabit them, including the Great Basin, the Great Salt Lake, the Colorado Plateau and high alpine environments.

Other spring course titles include “World Classics,” “Dream Journeys,” “French Encounter,” “The Ins and Outs of Computers,” “Coloring Fabric as used in Quilts,” “Practical Writing for Grownups,” “Chakras, Energy, and You,” and “Finding Purpose, Strength, and Passion after 50.”

The Osher Institute offers three, six-week sessions annually, with courses held during the day at historic Fort Douglas, on the University campus. Classes meet once or twice a week for one and a half to two hours. Curriculum is specifically developed for older learners. Distinguished emeritus faculty and community experts teach the courses.

Osher students join a yearly membership program for $400 and may take up to three non-credit classes per session (for a total of nine per year) and enjoy other University benefits, including library and campus recreation privileges. (U of U Alumni Association members pay $375 for membership.) Annual membership also entitles Osher Institute members to discounts at Kingsbury Hall and free entrance to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Museum of Natural History and Red Butte Garden. In addition, members and their guests can participate in various special events, University lectures, films and tours. Term memberships are available for $150 and include up to 3 courses in one term. Gift certificates can be purchased for membership in the program.

Funded by an initial grant of $100,000 from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University joins 73 other campuses in providing education outreach to older community members. The U”s Osher Institute is also sponsored by the Harold R. Burton, George S. Eccles and Marriner S. Eccles foundations, University Health Care, the I.J. and Jeann√© Wagner Jewish Community Center, the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Red Butte Garden and the U Alumni Association.

The Osher Institute’s spring session will run through May 25. Fall session will begin mid-September.