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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Photo of OLLI at the UMN members viewing solar eclipse 2017.

No tests. No grades.
Just the joy of learning and sharing.

Welcome to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Minnesota! OLLI is an award-winning program offering noncredit courses, interest groups, travel, and events for adult learners. Each year, OLLI's members enjoy over 300 stimulating noncredit courses including art, history, science, sports, and current events; participate in 30 interest groups from books to biking; travel on national and international trips; attend social events; meet other curious seniors; and use their skills as volunteers. One of 122 OLLIs across the country, we are proud to have received an endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation and proud to foster lifelong learning and enrich lives!


We invite you to join OLLI at the University of Minnesota!

Picture yourself enjoying one of our 300 stimulating noncredit courses, participating in a special interest group like books, biking, or orchestra, and meeting other interesting seniors. You can also travel on national and international trips and contribute your skills as a volunteer. We're told by 94% of our members how Osher Lifelong Learning Institute − University of Minnesota (OLLI) enriches their lives!

OLLI courses are taught by outstanding retired professors, experts, and graduate students in locations across the metro who are passionate about their topics. Courses cover thought-provoking and wide-ranging topics like global events, the arts, history, health science research, and important local and worldwide issues of the day. But there are no tests, no grades, and no papers!

OLLI members are kept up-to-date via our Up-To-Dater e-newsletter and the Board’s Memo-To-Members.

OLLI members receive invitations to participate in some UMN community events and learn about discounts on membership with the UMN Alumni Association and the UMN Retirees’ Association, etc.

OLLI has four terms: fall (September−November), winter (January−March), spring (April−May) and summer (June). The membership fee is a low $240/year (most members take 11 courses each year, join an interest group, and attend one or two events. Scholarships are available). Memberships are valid for one year from date of purchase. 

Founded in 1995, OLLI is part of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Minnesota. OLLI is honored to have been recognized as an “exemplary lifelong learning program” and provided an endowed gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation. To read more about OLLIs nationwide you can check out the Osher National Resource Center.

Add joy to your retirement. Join OLLI!


As a membership organization, OLLI at the University of Minnesota functions and thrives because of volunteer support. When volunteers infuse OLLI with their professional skills, budding talents, and endless enthusiasm and creativity, they not only help to keep the Institute running, they also ensure OLLI lives up to its promise to be a community dedicated to volunteerism, social engagement, and purposeful aging. And what better incentive to help OLLI thrive than by actively participating in an activity that is sure to boost your health, vitality, and wellbeing!

The following is a list of some of the many roles members play in service to OLLI.

  • Course Leaders are the key to OLLI’s vibrant roster of courses each term, as the majority of classes are led by members who have professional knowledge of, or a scholarly interest in, a subject. Still other courses are taught by professors from the University of Minnesota and other Metro-area colleges and universities, as well as community and civic leaders, and independent scholars.
  • Course Assistants are truly frontline ambassadors for OLLI—assisting course leaders, answering new member questions, and helping both during class sessions, be they taught face-to-face or remotely. Course Assistants often supplement the educational exchange and camaraderie by coordinating post-class gatherings to share in a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or meal.  
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are created and run by OLLI members in conjunction with the SIG coordinator. SIGs meet regularly, year-round, and provide members with social, cultural, and educational opportunities beyond the OLLI classroom.
  • Advisory Board members advance OLLI's mission, vision, and values and work to promote the institute’s sustainability and success by providing advice, active involvement, advocacy, and support to the OLLI Director. Advisory Board members also serve as Chairs for the following committees: Curriculum; Development; Events; Membership, Outreach, and Volunteers; Advisory Board Nominations; and Planning.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Simply email the OLLI office.

OLLI Scholars

The OLLI Scholar Program invites University of Minnesota graduates and post-doctoral researchers to teach for the institute and earn a stipend.

An annual application period takes place each spring, during which the candidates’ submitted course proposals are reviewed. Those who are selected become OLLI Scholars and teach their course(s) in the next academic year—typically for a total of seven weeks—for which they receive a $1,000 stipend.

OLLI Scholars must be enrolled students during the term in which their course is delivered and obtain a written endorsement from their advisor.

The next application period will take place in spring 2021.


Support OLLI—Make a Difference!

Help OLLI at the University of Minnesota continue to foster intellectual curiosity, love of learning, and brain health for active older adults in Minnesota. Your gift, whether monthly or year-end, planned or matching, helps OLLI provide its outstanding program, offer scholarships, strengthen technology, further our reach to new retirees, and support operations. Every gift, no matter the size, is an investment in the future of OLLI’s vibrant program.

Your contribution is truly appreciated whether it is to the OLLI Fund for future growth and to support the OLLI Scholars or the Miriam B. Seltzer Fund for membership scholarships.

Contact Us

OLLI at the UMN

Lifelong Learning and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
College of Continuing & Professional Studies | University of Minnesota
353 Ruttan Hall | 1994 Buford Avenue | St. Paul, MN 55108-6041


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