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U’s Osher Institute Kicks Off Third Year with New Classes and Activities

Aug. 4, 2006 — This fall, lifelong learners age 50 and over will study together in University of Utah courses chosen by and developed specifically for them by subject experts. More than 25 weekly classes will be offered through the U’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, beginning Sept. 18.

“Osher members are part of a dynamic community of adults who understand that life is enhanced through learning and social interaction. As our membership grows, the community becomes even more intellectually stimulating, more social, more interesting, more rewarding and more fun,” notes Cathy House, Osher Institute director.

One timely Osher course, “Iran: From the Safavid Empire to the Islamic Republic,” will focus on the cultural and linguistic history of Iran. Osher members will explore the history of Iran from its unification under the Safavid dynasty in 1501 to the current state of affairs under its theocratic form of government, including the origins of Islam and the differences between Sunnism and Shi”ism. This close examination of Iran’s history will help expose many of the mysteries that challenge the West’s understanding of this unique country.

Other fall course titles include “Tai Chi-Chi Kung,” “The Effect of the Boomer Generation on Law and Policy,” “Great Words from Great Books,” “Autumn Landscaping,” “Ways to Talk about a Work of Art,” “Riding the Health Wave: Promoting Healthy Living through Nutrition and Activity,” “Writing and Creating with Your Computer,” “The Happiness Hypothesis,” “Comedy: Why is That so Funny?”, “Women Growing into Wisdom” and more. Foreign language and recreation classes are also offered.

Some of the Osher courses, like the performing arts series,” include field trips. In this course, students will get an insider’s peek at the local performing arts scene with behind-the-scenes tours of the Utah Symphony, Utah Opera and Pioneer Theatre Company, which will include performances of Mozart’s Concerto No. 23, La Traviata and Chicago. Other special events include tours of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and State Crime Lab tour and a trip to the Utah Museum of Natural History to uncover secrets of Range Creek Ranch.

The Osher Institute offers three, six-week sessions annually, with day courses held at historic Fort Douglas, located on the University campus. Classes meet once or twice a week for 90 minutes to two hours. Courses are specifically developed for learners over age 50 by a curriculum committee made up of Osher members and are taught by distinguished emeritus faculty and community experts.

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 program benefits, including 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. U of U Alumni Association members pay $375 for membership. 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 93 other campuses in providing education outreach to older community members. The U’s Osher Institute is also sponsored by the R. Harold Burton Foundation, George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the University Health Sciences Center and members of the Institute. Community partners include 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 fall session will run through October 31. Winter session will begin January 22, 2006.

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