New York University’s specialized educational and social program for adults age 50 and older-the NYU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)-has just completed its successful inaugural year, in which almost 50 lectures, classes and events were offered and 490 members joined, exceeding enrollment goals by 40 percent.
NYU OLLI members and staff marked the occasion last tonight with a gala reception at NYU, featuring musical performances by Broadway legend Kitty Carlisle Hart, NYU President Emeritus L. Jay Oliva and NYU musical theater students.
Supported by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, NYU OLLI began in September 2005 as part of the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which for 70 plus years has provided both personal enrichment and professional education programs for working adults in the New York City region. It is part of a national network of 72 other Osher Institutes across the United States funded by the Foundation since 2002 specifically to provide educational and social programming for older adults. NYU OLLI is the first, and so far only, Osher program in New York City.
Drawing upon the educational and cultural resources of New York University and New York City, NYU OLLI offered to members over three dozen specially designed courses, on a wide range of topics in the arts and humanities, politics, science, finance, film, music, health and wellness, and philosophy. Highlights included: Journeying Within-Writing from the Heart, taught by writer Bette Ziegler; Michelangelo: Painter, Sculptor, Architect-A Renaissance Homosexual, taught by New York Academy of Art historian F. Douglas Blanchard; and Contemporary Immigration to the United States, France and Germany, taught by Merih Anil, and expert in citizenship and naturalization at the CUNY Graduate Center.
“Unlike the other programs for older people I am aware of, the classes at (NYU) Osher are far more interesting than the ‘usual’ classes offered,” says 58-year-old NYU OLLI member Ronee Fried. “For example, instead of American History (101) or Spanish, I have taken courses like The Supreme Court, China and the U.S.-Two Economic Giants in Crisis and Freedom of Speech. It has been a very stimulating year.”
In addition to courses, NYU OLLI launched several popular lecture programs, The Sizzle Series (interviews with artistic and cultural leaders), the Think Tank series (conversations about current political and policy issues) and a Brown Bag series (lunchtime discussions on current world and national events). These programs attracted large audiences, most over 100 people and as many as 130 at some events. As well, NYU OLLI members were able to access group tickets to the New York Philharmonic and NYU student theater events.
Beyond education, NYU OLLI aims to foster social networking among New York’s seniors. “”What distinguishes the Osher program from other learning opportunities in NYC is that as a member you feel part of a cohesive group rather than just taking a class or attending a lecture,” says Gloria Zalaznick, an NYU OLLI member.
“Looking forward, NYU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will build upon these first year successes, to continue crafting meaningful educational and social experiences for older adults,” says NYU OLLI Director Dean Williamson. “And now, with an established enrollment, we are able to harness the energy and intellectual resources of our members to help generate program ideas, develop curricula and teach courses themselves. In this way NYU’s Osher program becomes not just for but ‘of its members’.”
Slated for fall 2006, are 47 course offerings alone. Several are repeats of popular past classes. Among the new offerings are The Fading American Dream to be taught by Dan Diamond, former dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business; Growing up with Radio, an audible tour of radio in the 1920s through 1950s; and French for Travelers, aimed at helping members make a trip to France more meaningful. As well, there will several member-guided tours to such locations as Harlem’s famous Sylvia’s restaurant, PBS’ Channel 13, and the United Nations.
Membership in the NYU OLLI is open to all adults at least 50 years of age. “OLLI Annual Plus” membership for the full 2006-07 academic year costs $250 and includes a one-year subscription to The New York Times with home delivery, Monday-Friday. Basic “OLLI Annual” membership is for the full year and costs $200, but does not include The New York Times subscription. “Single Semester” memberships are also available for $150.
For more information, a full list of NYU OLLI membership benefits, and a schedule of courses and events for Fall 2006, please call 212 998-7171 or visit the NYU Osher website at www.scps.nyu.edu/learning.
About The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies
The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (www.scps.nyu.edu) is among the 14 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private universities in the United States. Founded in 1934, NYU SCPS each year educates some 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students and enrolls over 40,000 in its non-credit programs. A national leader in adult and professionally oriented education, NYU SCPS programs include non-credit courses that span more than 125 fields, 14 industry-focused Master’s degree programs, and nine Bachelor’s and six Associate degree programs specially designed for working adults. As well, NYU SCPS is home to NYU Online, the University’s first online undergraduate program.