UMass Boston Receives $1 Million Grant from Osher Foundation

December 13, 2012

Office of Communications


Award Extends Funding for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Chancellor J. Keith Motley today announced that the University of Massachusetts Boston has received a second $1 million gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation to continue funding of the university’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which offers an array of educational opportunities for seniors in Greater Boston.

“Your passion for learning and your commitment to OLLI are truly commendable,” Motley told the OLLI Board of Directors when announcing the funding, “and I want to let you know that all that you do has gotten the attention of one of the university’s most generous benefactors on the West Coast.”

In a letter to the university, Osher Foundation President Mary G.F. Bitterman said UMass Boston has “established a standard of excellence” with its OLLI program.

“We recognize that the institute’s success represents the collective achievement of its excellent staff and dynamic community of intellectually vigorous members,” Bitterman wrote. She also praised UMass Boston “for embracing the notion that—at its best—education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to elevate, delight, and forge connection to each other and to a larger world.”

Founding director Wichian Rojanawon began OLLI at UMass Boston in 1999 with 90 members. In the following 13 years, OLLI has grown to more than 1,000 members from 80 cities and towns in Greater Boston. They choose from more than 100 noncredit courses and more than 80 lecture series each year. The $1 million gift will provide needed support for the growing program in the years ahead.

The Osher Foundation informed Motley of the award last week, but Bitterman asked the chancellor not to reveal the news until he could meet with the board in person.

“Let me tell you, carrying around a $1 million top secret for a week is not an easy thing to do,” he told the board.

About UMass Boston
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