Florida Atlantic University’s board of trustees unanimously agreed to rename its lifelong learning program as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) after businessman Bernard Osher made a personal donation of $4 million to the college.
Osher is the treasurer of the Bernard Osher Foundation, whose board approved the multimillion-dollar endowment grant that will support the institute’s development and programming at FAU’s Boca Raton and Jupiter campuses. It’s the largest grant ever awarded by Osher’s foundation, the school said.
“This is a historic day for the lifelong learning programs at FAU,” said FAU President John Kelly. “This generous gift represents the Osher Foundation’s strong desire to invest in us and shows just how confident they are in what our lifelong learning institute offers to our communities.
“It also ensures that the lifelong learning program will be here forever, and I couldn’t be more proud,” Kelly added.
FAU’s OLLI offers non-credit courses to older adults and has more than 14,000 members and 7,500 students. The school’s relationship with the Osher Foundation was established in June 2014, when it gave FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society a $150,000 operating grant.
“This endowment is a testament of the recognition of the excellence of FAU’s Lifelong Learning program,” said Herbert Shapiro, associate provost of OLLI at FAU, Boca Raton. “We look forward to the prospect of being able to further enhance our excellent programming for our dedicated members, as well as share ideas with our colleagues nationally across the Osher network.”
Osher founded the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation in 1977. The foundation has lifelong learning programs that carry its name operating on 120 campuses across the U.S. They offer post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities nationally, with a focus on re-entry students.
“As the architect of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program, the foundation takes great pride in the program’s expansion, through the personal gift of Bernard Osher, to include Florida Atlantic University,” said Mary Bitterman, president of the Bernard Osher Foundation. “FAU is widely recognized as a leader in the field of lifelong learning, and the nature and variety of educational opportunities that it offers is impressive.”