It’s Not Time to Give Up Learning for Some Retirees

Retirement is not a time to slow down for students enrolled in programs at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Washington, D.C. Nor is this the moment to give up on learning. On the premises of American University (AU), OLLI provides classes designed specifically for retirees. Each semester, the institute enrolls approximately 1,600 members, or students, in more than 90 classes. Just $300 is needed per semester, or $550 for the spring and fall semesters. Classes in ten different subjects are available to members of OLLI.

The history of slavery in America, the ancient Mediterranean, color theory, playwriting, and the ups and downs of the weather are among the subjects covered in the spring classes. “I think the typical OLLI members … were the kids who were most excited about school,” said Tony Long, OLLI’s executive director. They adore learning. They adore education. And the majority of these individuals retired at the pinnacle of their respective fields.

There are 125 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on college campuses across the country, including OLLI at AU. The foundation of industrialist Bernard Osher provided financial support for the programs when they first began in 2001. Additionally, the Osher Foundation gave AU $200,000 in 2008 to establish OLLI. According to Long, OLLI at AU is regarded as the hardest program in the nation. According to Penny Hansen, a large part of it is related to the OLLI membership in Washington, D.C. She has been an OLLI Supreme Court course instructor for a number of years. There are many knowledgeable experts in law, politics, public policy, and the media in the nation’s capital. According to Hansen, “a lot of people retire in Washington and just stay here.” “They truly enjoy this place because of the stimulating atmosphere.”

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