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UA Receives $100,000 from Bernard Osher Foundation

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The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies, to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Alabama — a program targeted for continuing the education of mature students.

The program builds on the success of UA’s Xplorations in Lifelong Learning program by giving mature students, many of whom are at retirement age, the opportunity to learn for the joy of learning — without homework or examinations.

“The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to contribute to the sound foundation being established for lifelong learning at The University of Alabama,” commented Mary Bitterman, president of the Foundation. “We have followed the progress of the Xplorations in Lifelong Learning program and hope that our support will assist the program in enhancing its service to an ever growing membership. We are confident that the national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes — now comprising 112 universities from Maine to Hawaii — will benefit greatly from the perspective and participation of our colleagues at The University of Alabama.”

Since funding its first lifelong learning institute at the University of Southern Maine in 2001, the Osher Foundation has offered annual grants of $100,000 for up to four years to select universities committed to developing and implementing lifelong learning programs. Those grantees that meet certain criteria of the Foundation are considered for endowment grants of at least $1 million to contribute to their success and sustainability going forward.

“We are honored that the Bernard Osher Foundation has chosen to partner with The University of Alabama and the College of Continuing Studies in this important initiative. This new partnership will help transform an already successful initiative into a thriving opportunity for enrichment for the people of our state and beyond,” said Carolyn Dahl, dean of UA’s College of Continuing Studies.

As a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning network, UA will have access to the National Resource Center for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, which plays a lead role in sharing information on effective educational programming for mature learners.

In addition to providing information and connections via a Web site, the Resource Center publishes a national research journal, conducts an annual national conference, and provides opportunities for Osher Institutes to connect with one another.

The UA program is now a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses in 47 states. The Foundation endeavors for the growing national network of Osher Institutes to eventually contain at least one institute in each of the 50 states. The University of Alabama at Huntsville received an Osher grant for Lifelong Learning in 2005 and was also awarded the $1 million endowment in 2006.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader. The Foundation seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and
the arts.

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