History, Mission & Vision

OLLI students in the classroom.

History

Founded in 1990, OLLI at UC was the brainchild of Aaron Levine, a retired executive from Federated Department Stores, who had heard of similar programs at Harvard, Northwestern, and other collegiate settings. Originally known as the Institute for Learning in Retirement and later the Institute for Lifetime Education, it began in spring 1990 with an offering of 14 courses and an enrollment of 131 eager learners. During the recent 2018–19 school year, OLLI at UC offered 464 learning opportunities with an enrollment of 2,054 individuals.

In 2007, 2009, and 2010, significant grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation created an endowment to help cover some of OLLI at UC's operating expenses and resulted in the change in name to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Cincinnati. With these grants and name change, OLLI at UC became part of a network of 124 OLLI programs at universities or colleges in every state of the union.

In his reflections on OLLI’s founding, Aaron Levine’s words still ring true: “We were beginning a new venture that would truly benefit those of retirement age. It would offer them a new kind of life, a wonderful activity that featured intellectual involvement and interaction with like-minded, intelligent, energetic seniors. This was our objective and, indeed, this was the way it developed and grew over the years.”

Mission

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute provides a broad program of educational and social opportunities for a diverse audience of mature adults as an integral part of the University of Cincinnati’s outreach to the community.

Vision

OLLI at UC is the premier organization offering educational and social experiences to the mature residents of Greater Cincinnati by

  • Nourishing intellect, expanding knowledge, exploring new ideas
  • Sharing interests and experiences
  • Cultivating friendships
  • Being a resource of the University of Cincinnati and supporting its goals

Value Statement

OLLI at UC is a diverse community of learners valued for their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.