UMass Boston

About OLLI

Watercolor Class at The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UMass Boston

Learning for the love of it! The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UMass Boston is an inclusive member-powered community that offers educational, cultural, and social programs to inspire adult learners ages 50+. Through a modestly priced membership, OLLI provides non-credit courses, special lectures, social events, theatre outings, and field trips in the United States and abroad. OLLI at UMass Boston values the diversity of its members, staff, facilitators, and volunteers, and we strive to model and promote a welcoming environment by embracing our community, which includes differences in race, socioeconomic status, cultural background, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and educational background.

No specific background or education level is required to join--just an interest in learning, the desire to participate actively with your peers, and an open mind.

OLLI offers over 200 learning opportunities every year through our courses, OLLI Talk presentations, and special events. These educational programs vary in length. Courses meet once a week (mostly during the day) and might last from 3–10 weeks. The length of most classes is 90 minutes, but some might only be an hour and a few last up to two hours. OLLI Talks and special events are typically one-day programs and generally last for an hour

OLLI is funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports educational programs, arts, and integrative medicine centers. OLLI at UMass Boston is one of 125 institutes in all 50 states in the U.S. funded by the Foundation.

“It’s the belief of the Bernard Osher Foundation that people are living longer and this longer life should be coupled with increased learning. The more engaged seasoned adults are, the more constructive citizens they will be,” said Mary Bitterman, President of the Foundation.

Some facts about OLLI at UMass Boston

We are:

  • only one of five Osher institutes in the nation housed in a gerontology or nursing department. With this rarity, OLLI is able to tap into the expertise and resources provided by the Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Gerontology Institute to connect learners directly with faculty, staff, and graduate students.
  • the first lifelong learning program in the U.S. that created an active LGBT group called Stonewall at OLLI UMass Boston
  • the only lifelong learning programs in the nation that provides a free access to Mango Language Program allowing members to learn over 50 languages by using computers, laptops, smart phones, and tablet devices
  • one of the selected OLLIs out of the 125 in the country that has received a second $1 million endowment from the Osher Foundation

Friends of OLLI

A contribution of any size is a gift of knowledge and makes a big difference in the lives of the program and our members.

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