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OLLI@CCU receives its second $1 million endowed grant from Osher Foundation

December 21, 2016

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University (OLLI@CCU) has received its second $1 million endowed grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation to support the operations of the institute. The initial grant was received in 2013.

“A consistent standard of excellence and a model of active member involvement have become hallmarks of Coastal Carolina University’s fine program,” said Osher Foundation President Mary G.F. Bitterman. “We recognize that the institute’s success represents the collective achievement of its excellent staff and dynamic community of intellectually vigorous members, who give generously of their time, talent and financial resources. We applaud, too, the University’s leadership for its support of the institute and for embracing the notion that – at its best – education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to elevate, delight and forge our connection to one another and to the larger world.”

OLLI@CCU is housed in CCU’s Office of Academic and Community Outreach. It provides opportunities for adult, noncredit students age 50 or older to achieve intellectual stimulation, as well as cultural and social growth. Nearly 400 noncredit classes and workshops, as well as a variety of special interest clubs and travel opportunities, are offered each semester for mature learners. Topics include computer technology, art and photography, foreign languages, history and government, literature and writing, music, theater and film, personal growth and skill development, philosophy and religion, science and nature. Courses are offered during day and evening hours at outreach centers in Conway, Georgetown, Litchfield and Myrtle Beach.

“Thanks to our exemplary members, dedicated staff, esteemed board of advisors, and Marjorie Thompson, who serves as a liaison between OLLI and the Office for Philanthropy, we have succeeded in collecting more than $15,000 this year with more than 10 percent of our members contributing, thus fulfilling the annual requirement set forth by the Osher Foundation,” said Carol Osborne, director of academic and community outreach at CCU. “We anticipate a bright future for OLLI as we use the earnings from the endowments to update our technology, and advertise and expand our program.”

Participation in courses and clubs requires OLLI membership, which includes discounts and special programs at area museums (Brookgreen Gardens, Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, Hobcaw Barony, Horry County History Museum, and the North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum), musical and theatrical companies (Long Bay Symphony, Atlantic Stage, Theatre of the Republic), and health and wellness centers (YMCA, Fitness Edge, Fit 4 Everyone and Tidelands HealthPoint Center).

“I have been an OLLI@CCU student since 2007, an instructor since 2009, and a volunteer since 2013 after moving to Myrtle Beach from Pittsburgh, Pa., where I had been an art teacher for many years,” said Sue Ann Whittick. “I love OLLI! Over the years I have learned from so many quality classes and gone on memorable field trips. As an instructor, my mind has kept working as I endeavor to make my classes informative, magical and a place to make new friends. As a volunteer, I have been able to use my organizational, cooking and artistic skills. All of this keeps this 73-year-old brain ticking along and excited for my next OLLI adventure.”

Current and prospective OLLI members are invited to “Taste of OLLI,” where they will have the opportunity to learn about the upcoming spring semester classes, lecture series and excursions. The same event will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 9 in Conway, Jan. 10 in Myrtle Beach and Jan. 12 in Litchfield. Learn more at coastal.edu/olli or call 843-349-2767.

Lifelong learning at CCU dates back to 1987 with the establishment of the Third Quarter. In the 1990s, the program evolved into the Lifelong Learning Society and expanded to four service sites. It was renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University in 2007 when it was awarded its first $100,000 grant from the Osher Foundation. The mission of OLLI@CCU, which is generously supported by the University, is to provide opportunities for community members to achieve intellectual stimulation, as well as cultural and social growth, while fostering a close, lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between these noncredit students and the University.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting higher education and the arts, has provided funding to institutions of higher education to develop and grow noncredit, intellectually stimulating programs for older adults since the fall of 2002. The Osher Foundation supports 119 OLLIs on university and college campuses in all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), as well as a National Resource Center for the institutes at Northwestern University.