What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

More than Just Great Classes!

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What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at NC State provides non-credit short courses, study trips, and special events for adults aged 50+. Topics are wide-ranging in the liberal arts and sciences, and we emphasize learning for the joy of learning. Programs range from one-time lectures to six-week courses, and we provide many opportunities to connect with others who share your interests. Most of our courses are held at the easily-accessible McKimmon Conference & Training Center. We were founded in 1991 as the Encore Program for Lifelong Enrichment, and we are proud to be now part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Network, a group of programs that receives support from The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Membership is at the core of our program, and we rely on participants taking an active role, whether in the classroom or behind the scenes helping us design the program. Part of what makes OLLI special is the exchange of ideas in the classroom from those with diverse backgrounds. Our instructors volunteer in order to keep your fees low, and they find it rewarding because of this rich learning atmosphere. Although OLLI is a membership organization, and members receive priority registration, some of our programs are open to nonmembers to give you a chance to sample our offerings. We hope you will join our community of learners!

If you wish to learn more about the history of lifelong learning institutes, their impact, and the positive role The Bernard Osher Foundation has played in propelling their growth, we encourage you to read Dr. Mary Bitterman’s excellent chapter about lifelong learning in her book Staying the Course: Thirty-Five Years of Osher Philanthropy. Dr. Bitterman is the president of The Bernard Osher Foundation.

The Osher LLI is part of the McKimmon Center for Extension & Continuing Education at North Carolina State University (NC State). Any views and/or opinions expressed in the classes, groups, or other offerings are those of the individual instructor/presenter and not of NC State. NC State reserves the right to cancel any class or event due to under-enrollment and to substitute instructors or make other changes as it deems necessary.

OLLI Catalog



What our members tell us about the benefits of participating in OLLI at NC State:


  • “Mental health is stimulated by thinking new thoughts – I leave the class energized!”
  • “OLLI is all it’s advertised to be and more – lifelong learning at its best. It’s easy to see that OLLI has developed a community of learners and this can only enrich our lives as OLLI participants as well as our wider community.”
  • “I really enjoy meeting new people – and they are all special here.”