Status message

COVID-19 Update: The University of Minnesota will offer online, or alternative, instruction through the end of summer term 2020. Read CCAPS's operational updates or visit the Safe Campus website for the University's operational updates.

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!

Volunteer Opportunities

We have been told over and over again what a difference OLLI has made in our member’s lives. And it just so happens that those who speak of it most are members who have chosen to become OLLI volunteers.

Volunteers infuse OLLI with their talents, skills, and creativity and gain personal social connections. Below, you will find brief summaries of the volunteer opportunities so that when you are ready to share your time and talent, you’ll know what the heck they do!

Course Assistants are truly ambassadors for OLLI—welcoming members to class, answering new member questions, and taking attendance. They help OLLI increase our community spirit by suggesting and meeting with other course participants for coffee after class.

Course Leaders volunteer to make our OLLI the vital, fascinating program that it is.

The Curriculum Committee consists of five Affinity Groups (Arts, Social Sciences, Science and Technology, Sports, Travel), the Course Leader Team, the Quality Review Team, the Interdisciplinary Team, and the Course Development Teams mentor. The Affinity Groups imagine and suggest potential courses and course leaders. The Course Leader Team plans two gatherings or workshops and assists with the course leader luncheon. The Quality Review Team reviews course comment forms for trends and concerns. The Interdisciplinary Team develops speaker series like OLLI Talks!

The Marketing Team works to spread the news about OLLI’s program, purpose, and benefits to more retirees. Some members spread the news to their former company or organization, others volunteer to write articles on our impact. An OLLI Ambassador group has begun making presentations at future retiree sessions.

The Member Events Committee plans and implements OLLI events that are enjoyable, social, and stimulating. Our goal is to promote member participation. Events include the Fall Kickoff, the Course Leader Luncheon, and the Volunteer Luncheon.

The Special Interest Group (SIG) Committee is a coordinator who meets with people who are interested in starting SIGs and plans an annual picnic for SIG Leaders.

The Volunteer Committee finds OLLI members who will lend a hand for short-term projects: event registration, calling new members, preparing new member bags, etc.

The Advisory Board advances OLLI's mission, vision, and values and works to promote OLLI's sustainability and success by providing advice, active involvement, advocacy, and support to OLLI at the UMN's Executive Director.
Responsibilities include:

  • advising the Executive Director in setting strategic direction and goals
  • advancing program excellence
  • promoting membership recruitment and retention, and offering input to the marketing plan
  • providing input about the annual budget, including recommending annual membership fees
  • coordinating committees and task forces
  • participating in OLLI events and volunteering at such events when needed
  • informing members about OLLI events and encouraging them to attend
  • financially supporting OLLI at a level that is personally meaningful
  • assisting with fundraising activities
  • identifying matters and concerns that they believe affect the success of OLLI
  • contributing to a culture of open-mindedness, candor, and mutual respect

We appreciate our volunteers and invite you to add your talents to OLLI at the University of Minnesota! If you need more motivation, current research reveals that volunteering promotes brain health! Just email the OLLI office.

Suggest a Course/Leader

OLLI Course Leaders are a critical component to making OLLI successful. They deliver content, facilitate meaningful discussions, and keep OLLI members on their toes with new perspectives. Each term OLLI welcomes back veteran volunteer course leaders and introduces new volunteer course leaders who have come to us via member recommendations, staff research, or their own outreach.


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


Send OLLI website feedback.

OLLI Inclement Weather Policy

OLLI Scholars

An opportunity for Grads and Postdocs to teach in your field to older adults and earn a small stipend! The OLLI Scholar Program provides graduate students and postdocs who are experts in their field of study a paid opportunity to teach for OLLI during one of our three 7 week terms—fall, winter, and spring. Approved graduate student/postdoc course leaders (OLLI Scholars) will receive a $1,000 stipend to prepare and present one course. OLLI Scholars must be students enrolled in a program during the term in which their course is delivered and must obtain the written endorsement from their adviser. At this time, OLLI Scholars must be able to teach their course virtually if needed.

OLLI is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2020.


"I always left my classes learning more about myself and my art from having interacted with these brilliant people." 
—Zachary Colby, OLLI Scholar, Tenor, DMA Candidate Voice, University of Minnesota