Spring 2010


Big Osher Gift Gets Boomers Back in Class

A tidepooling class at Patrick’s Point State Park.

Humboldt State University has received one of the largest cash gifts in its history: $1 million from The Bernard Osher Foundation to help fund HSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which provides learning opportunities for those over age 50. The grant will create an endowment to cover a portion of HSU OLLI operating expenses in perpetuity.

OLLI is a terrific resource for older adults in our area,” says HSU President Rollin Richmond. “We are deeply grateful for the Osher Foundation’s support of this wonderful program.”

The Institute offers intellectually stimulating, noncredit classes for learners over age 50, in turn creating a more vibrant community of engaged participants. Upcoming classes cover a range of subjects, from memoir writing to landscape design to the history of the Carson family, including rare access to Carson family properties.

OLLI member and volunteer class assistant Walter Frazer says, “I’ve taken over a half dozen classes through OLLI. It truly is education for grownups, who are there because they want to be, and I learn a lot from my classmates as well as from the teachers.”

Under the stewardship of coordinator Laina Warsavage, membership in Humboldt State’s OLLI has grown steadily in recent years, rising from 227 members in 2005 to 903 in 2009. Warsavage, who worked with University Advancement and the Osher Foundation to make this gift possible, also oversaw a major expansion of the number of classes offered to over 90 per year.

Because the $1 million grant will create an endowment, HSU will invest the core assets and only the income will be used to help cover OLLI’s operating expenses. HSU’s OLLI will kick off a fundraising campaign this spring to help cover the full cost of the program. To make a gift to support OLLI, visit http://www.humboldt.edu/giving.

Check out OLLI's unique courses:ww.humboldt.edu/olli