OThe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, “A Health Club for Your Mind,” has been in Fairbanks almost since the turn of the century. Originally Adventures in Lifelong Learning and then Alaska Lifelong Learning, the name was changed to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2006, after the Osher foundation provided funding. The program is currently part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Sessions, open to students 50 years and older.

Members celebrated OLLI’s 10th Anniversary in 2010. There are now 800 members in OLLI.

All instructors are volunteers, and many are current or former UAF faculty members. Most are delighted by the eagerness and willingness to ask questions that characterize OLLI students. I know I was, when I taught a class in basic genetics! As a general rule there are four sets of 4-week classes a year, in March, April, October and November. This spring I’m taking seven: iMovie and iDVD, Beringia, and Ancient Sumer in March; Alaska’s 1964 Earthquake, Climate Variability and Change, iPhone and iPad, and Alaska Weather in April.

As you can see I tend to go for the science and computer classes, but those are far from the only ones taught. There are classes in art and handiwork, computer applications, exercise and recreation, films and photography, healthy living, history and politics, literature languages and philosophy, science and mathematics, and social studies. In addition there are field trips and special interest groups.

There are OLLI programs across the country. All are university affiliated and received funding from the Osher Foundation, but they are run independently. Is there one where you live?

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