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U of U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute To Offer Courses For Mature Learners

Aug. 16, 2004 — Those age 50 and older who seek lifelong learning and enriching educational experiences can preview courses to be offered this fall by the newly formed University of Utah Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). An open house will be held Tuesday, Aug. 31st, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Commander’s House in Fort Douglas, 1965 de Trobriand Street. (Directions: Enter through the gates of Fort Douglas from South Campus Drive. Turn left at the first stop sign, then left on the one-way street immediately before the Officers Club, where reserved parking is available.)

OLLI will offer three, six-week sessions annually, with courses held weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at historic Fort Douglas on the University of Utah campus. Curriculum will focus on five areas: health and well being, effective asset management, social interaction and community and civic engagement, intellectual explorations, and the tools of technology. Distinguished emeritus faculty and scholars will teach courses. Fall classes, which begin Sept. 27 and run through Nov. 4, are offered on a variety of topics, including “Introduction to Art History: Cave Painting to Picasso,” “Cultivating Greater Life Satisfaction as We Age,” “Through the Lens of History: Utah’s Remarkable Journey to Statehood” and “Exploring and Protecting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.”

Since graduating from the University with a B.S. degree in Behavioral Science in 1986, Alyce Covey has repeatedly returned to the U to take a variety of classes-tap dance, art history, history of theatre, communication, even a clowning class, in which she received training that she has used in her pediatric hospice work. Now, returning again, Covey plans to take full advantage of the Osher Institute’s offerings. “I’m going to enroll in the art history course and the class on the Shoreline Trail. And I’m planning to plug into the Wednesday evening lecture series,” says Covey, who also served on the U’s Alumni Association Board.

Covey is sentimental about Fort Douglas as her father was stationed there. Her family visited the Commander’s House and picnicked by the old bandstand. She spent her 21st birthday at the Officers Club, drinking a grasshopper. “I’m very much attached to the Fort, but I also think that the concept of the Osher Institute is good-easy access and the convenient times when the classes are taught. The other, charming part of the concept is that it will bring people together to renew old friendships in a different setting.”

Participants in OLLI join a membership program and pay $400 to take up to three non-credit classes per session and enjoy other University benefits, including library and Field House privileges. Annual membership also entitles Institute members to participate in various special events, including “Classic Wednesdays,” a weekly screening of Hollywood feature films, hosted by Los Angeles screenwriter and Department of Communication Guest Lecturer John Schulian. The departments of English and Communication and the College of Humanities sponsor “Classic Wednesdays.” Additional private tours and lectures have also been arranged for OLLI members.

Funded by an initial grant of $100,000 from the Bernard Osher Foundation, located in San Francisco, Continuing Education at the University joins other campuses, primarily in the University of California and California State University systems, providing education outreach to older community members. Continuing Education’s academy will offer an array of daytime courses specifically designed to meet the needs of mature learners. The Institute, co-sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah and the Utah Educational Savings Plan, anticipates qualifying for a $1 million endowment from the Osher Foundation as early as 2006 as a result of the non-credit “college” for seniors.

The Institute’s spring session will begin March 28 and run through May 5, 2005. The summer session will begin May 23 and continue through July 1, 2005. For more information on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Utah, call 801-585-5442 or visit