Learning has no age limit, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is one way West Virginia University applies that philosophy.

From foreign language to fine arts, adults 50 and older can explore topics of every variety through OLLI, housed within the School of Public Health. OLLI at WVU fuels cognition, connection, creative collaboration and curiosity amongst the adults of the Morgantown community.

“The pursuit of knowledge through lifelong learning – whether it’s learning how to dance, speak a foreign language, write a newsletter, improve your golf swing or repair your car – has wonderful benefits for adults 50-plus,” said Angela Faulkner-Van Deysen, executive director of OLLI. “It keeps your mind sharp, increases self-confidence, helps you meet people with similar interests and much more.”

This year marks a milestone for OLLI at WVU, as it turns 20. At 3 p.m. on Sunday (June 8) in the Fukushima Lecture Hall of the WVU Health Sciences Center, OLLI will hold its annual meeting, as well as its 20th anniversary celebration.

In addition to the Institute’s usual activities, music and artwork will be on display, provided by OLLI members. University President Gordon Gee will be a guest lecturer at the event. Registration for the upcoming year will also be available.

The Institute offers more than 250 courses, lectures, interest groups, activities and trips each year. Classes are available in the daytime and evening, and span subjects including liberal arts, social studies, science, technology and lifestyles.

Members pay a $100 fee per year and are eligible to sign up for as many courses as they wish.

Jane Martin, president of the Board of Directors for OLLI at WVU, has seen all sides of the program: student, instructor, vice president and president.

“I’ve been involved in academia all my working life. I know how to teach well and I know when courses are being well-taught,” Martin said. “As a student, you benefit from a rich source of information. The people who teach are always experts: They’re well prepared, the content is handled beautifully, and they’re a delight to take. As an instructor, there’s not the pressure of exams and grades, so the focus is on the content and the student and the learning environment. It’s a delightful way to teach.”

There are 122 OLLIs across the country, with membership groups of various sizes. WVU’s Institute, the only in West Virginia, currently stands at about 500 members and is looking to grow. Four years ago, OLLI at WVU received a million dollar endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation that has assisted in the program’s success.

For more information about OLLI at WVU, visit http://olliatwvu.org/.



CONTACT: Angela Faulkner-Van Deysen, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
304.293.4780, ACFaulkner@hsc.wvu.edu

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