$1 million endowment ensures future success for OLLI at UNT

For OLLI at UNT members, lifelong learning is an adventure

For OLLI at UNT members, lifelong learning is an adventure.

Whether lifelong learners want to study Texas history, understand how to interpret a DNA report, join a book club or take a daytrip to the Dallas aquarium, OLLI at UNT has something to offer, thanks in large part to the continued support of the Bernard Osher Foundation.  

Each year, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North Texas offers more than 350 courses and events designed by and for adults 50 and better. As the premier lifelong learning program in the North Texas region, OLLI at UNT is dedicated to creating intellectually and socially stimulating opportunities. While the institute prioritizes fun, the results are serious.   

“Research demonstrates that taking part in a lifelong learning program decreases cognitive decline, increases social well-being and has a positive impact on overall lifespan,” says Stephanie Reinke, director of OLLI at UNT.    

UNT’s program became part of an exclusive network of 123 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in 2016. In November 2018, the foundation unanimously approved a $1 million endowment and an additional bridge grant of $50,000 for OLLI at UNT, citing the outstanding progress the institute made since receiving its initial operating grant.  

Qualifying for the endowment was no small feat for the OLLI at UNT team. The program had to achieve a sustained membership level exceeding 500 individuals, enhance and diversify course offerings, provide meaningful volunteer opportunities, and exhibit a stable organizational structure and strong support from UNT. The institute began the qualification process in September 2017 and exceeded the eligibility requirements in only 12 months. During that time, membership soared from 250 to 700 and OLLI at UNT began offering classes at three new satellite locations.  

“As we continue to grow, we envision the possibility of creating new classrooms in Dallas and Fort Worth,” says Reinke. “We’re  excited to keep pushing ourselves to offer high-quality courses, as well as provide opportunities for members to engage with one another outside the classroom.”  

OLLI at UNT is committed to improving quality of life for members. As an Endowed Osher Institute, future program offerings will be more robust than ever, ranging from traditional lectures given by renowned faculty to experiential learning opportunities with like-minded individuals and special interest groups.  

Guests are encouraged to attend one class for free to try out the program, though existing members would urge them to simply consider the personal benefits.  

“There are numerous scientific studies that highlight the connection between lifelong learning and maintaining cognitive health,” says Susan Supak, member and host of the OLLI at UNT podcast. “OLLI at UNT is the most fun and exciting preventative medicine I could ever want,”  

Are you an adult 50 or better looking for a vibrant community of curious minds and adventurous hearts? Discover how an OLLI at UNT membership can help you step into your life’s next big adventure!