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Sarasota Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019 1 year ago

Lifelong Learning Center gets $1 million endowment

The Bernard Osher Foundation awards Ringling College.
by: Whitney Elfstrom Staff Writer

Ringling College of Art and Design on Wednesday announced a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College.

The Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy changed its name to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in December 2017.

The program specializes in providing senior residents with year-round, non-credit, liberal arts courses at locations around the Sarasota-Manatee area. The Osher Foundation, which works to improve quality of life through higher education and the arts, originally awarded the college a $100,000 grant in December 2017.

The grant prompted the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy to change its name to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College to signify its inclusion in the 123 lifelong learning programs that are supported by the Osher Foundation across the country, including Florida State University and Johns Hopkins.

 “We … salute the leadership of Ringling College for its support of the program and for embracing the notion that education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to forge and enhance our connection to one another and to a larger world,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “We are delighted to provide this permanent support.”

Through the support of the Osher Foundation, Ringling College President Larry Thompson said the program will be able to continue its efforts to provide a space for lifelong learners to “ pursue new interests, expand their intellectual horizons and enrich their lives.”

The $1 million endowment will be used to enhance member and volunteer efforts in order to continue the support and engagement with students in the program, according to Janna Overstreet, director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She also said that being designated as an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is the gold standard in lifelong learning. 

“What really set us apart is the community of lifelong learners that we build through social interaction, the commitment of instructors and other volunteers to the mission of the program, and our membership opportunities for support and engagement,” she said. “We create a sense of community based upon shared interests and commitment to the mission of OLLI and to ongoing lifelong learning.”

I’m the Sarasota community reporter, which means I cover the people, places and things of Sarasota. I graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a degree in journalism and digital communication and a minor in English. 

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