Bridging the gap between the older community and education, the University of Rhode Island’s program in Gerontology in the College of Human Sciences and Services developed the first Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the state. Phillip Clark, professor, and Director, URI Program in Gerontology and Director, Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center (RIGEC), collaborated with a state-wide community coalition to secure a one-year $100,000 grant from the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation for a start-up program designed to establish a lifelong learning community adults age fifty and older. As a result of its success, the OLLI at URI in 2013 received a million-dollar endowment to help ensure financial stability for the future.
Consistent with the national OLLI vision the OLLI at URI gives members opportunities to play key roles in shaping, managing, and leading the organization. OLLI members can take and teach classes, plan and coordinate activities, organize volunteer projects, serve on committees, act as class assistants, help with program promotion and data management, create and edit catalogs, and volunteer for other tasks that keep the OLLI working efficiently with a small full–time staff for over 1100 members.
Although OLLI is housed at URI’s main campus in Kingston, which generously provides parking and classroom facilities, membership and programs are open to all Rhode Island residents 50 and older who pay a nominal membership fee and are interested in being part of a lifelong learning community. With that in mind, OLLI provides a wide range of courses in history, current affairs, expressive arts, film, health and wellness, language arts, literature, music, religion and science and other subjects of interest to members. The OLLI faculty, many who are retired high school teachers, and college faculty, come with expertise, and passion, to offer novel and exciting single – class lectures and courses of 3,6 or 8 weeks throughout the year.
Join the OLLI at URI and help to create a community where people can exchange ideas, engage in discussion, learn from each other, foster their creativity, develop new friendships, and be a part of something big!