Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU receives third $100,000 Grant from Osher Foundation

June 2, 2009

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the first and only such institute in Indiana, has been awarded a third $100,000 grant to provide learning opportunities for older adults in the Wabash Valley.

The grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation will allow Indiana State to continue its commitment to lifelong learning by reaching out to a larger number of adults, expanding learning opportunities available while making them more accessible.

Known as OLLI at ISU, the group was founded in 1997 as the Dewey Institute for Lifelong Learning. It became affiliated with the Osher Foundation in 2007, when it received its first $100,000 grant for adult education programs. Members of OLLI, currently numbering around 300, enjoy a mix of lectures, courses and special events designed to meet the needs and interests of older adults. The only prerequisite for membership is a love of learning.

Member Sheron Dailey said while there are activities for older adults in the community, the Institute fulfills the need for educational programs.

"OLLI is a great benefit for the community. There is a need for this type of programming," Dailey, a former curriculum coordinator at Indiana State and an OLLI member who assisted in applying for the initial grant, said.

Program administrator Michelle Bennett added the group offers its members a lot of diversity in terms of programming.

"Our members enjoy topical programs in the arts, literature, sports, science and nature," Bennett said.

The program also offers opportunities for members to learn alongside their children and grandchildren, for a multi-generational learning experience.

OLLI administrators and members agree the additional funding is critical for the group’s continued success.

"This third grant enables OLLI to concentrate on growing its membership and expanding its programming," said Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs. "We’re building for future success."

At the end of the third year, the Indiana State group has the potential to receive a $1 million endowment by meeting specific criteria.

The Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader from California. Among the programs supported by the foundation is a national network of lifelong learning institutes for older adults.

At present, the Foundation supports 122 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses in all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) as well as a National Resource Center for the Institutes at the University of Southern Maine.

The group is currently offering a special fifteen-month membership (June 2009 - August 2010) of $30, which entitles participants to attend all the single lectures. Courses and special event fees vary by event. Go to .

For more information about OLLI at ISU, call Cheryl Pruitt or Linda Crossett at 812-237-8707, or Michelle Bennett, program administrator, at 812-237-2336 or at .




Contact: Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs, (812) 237-8479

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or