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Osher Institute gets $1 million boost

April 09, 2007

ASU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has received its largest-ever gift, a $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The funding will be used to improve communications among the institute's five sites, as well as to expand the range of course offerings.

“This is a wonderful development and we continue to be so thankful to the Osher Foundation for its support of our programs,” says Vince Waldron, faculty research director for the institute.

What eventually became the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at ASU was founded in 2001 as the result of a community-based research project developed by faculty members from the West campus' communications studies department. The study centered on what new retirees wanted from their communities.

“To our surprise, we found they wanted nothing more than to keep learning,” says Waldron, a professor of communication studies at ASU's West campus.

With its first Osher Foundation grant of $100,000 in March 2004, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute began the development of community-based lifelong learning programs across the metro Phoenix area. Continued funding in 2005 led to the rapid expansion of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs. From an initial offering of 20 courses to 200 students in Sun City Grand in 2001, the institute has grown to today's inventory of 200 short courses, lectures and workshops attended by more than 1,300 older learners across five sites: ASU's West and Polytechnic campuses, Sun City, Sun City Grand, and Sun City Festival. For more information, registration dates, and course offerings, contact the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at (602) 543-6440.