April 2 2007
The learning community recently received a $100,000 grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation to strengthen the existing program by reaching out to a larger number of adults, expanding learning opportunities available while making them more accessible. In conjunction with receiving the grant, the Institute will now be known as The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Indiana State University.
First founded in 2002 as the Dewey Institute of Lifelong Learning, the group's programs are designed by its members and tailored to suit their interests. Members of the Dewey Institute, currently numbering around 200, enjoy a mix of lectures, courses and special events designed to meet the needs and interests of older adults. The only prerequisite for membership is a love of learning.
"We appreciate the generous financial assistance provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and look forward to expanding our course offerings in order for older adults in the Wabash Valley to continue their love of learning. By expanding this program we can become a valuable resource for a growing population," said C. Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
A committee comprised of Dewey Institute members Ed Warner, Harriet McNeal, Richard Becker, Sam Schnitzer, Ruth Erickson, curriculum coordinator for the Dewey Institute; Carolyn Toops, former chair; Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs at ISU; and Sheron Dailey, former Dewey curriculum coordinator, wrote the grant proposal.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us. We can explore possibilities such as offering day-long programs in addition to our current activities and developing marketing plans that will enable us to more effectively reach residents interested in educational pursuits," Erikson said.
The Osher grant compliments the support the Institute has received from Indiana State since its inception.
"We are grateful for the support we have received from the University throughout the years. We wouldn't be where we are today without them," Erickson said.
Erickson said while there are activities for older adults in the community, the Institute fulfills the need for educational programs.
"The Institute is a great benefit for the community. There is a need for this type of programming," she added.
The Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader from California. Among the programs supported by the foundation is a national network of lifelong learning institutes for older adults. Typically, grants of $100,000 are made on the understanding that, once a lifelong learning institute was launched, the Foundation would consider the renewal of the grant for two more years with the potential for a $1 million endowment should the institute demonstrate potential for success and sustainability.
At present, the Foundation is supporting 112 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses in 47 states (plus the District of Columbia) as well as a National Resource Center for the Institutes at the University of Southern Maine. It is hoped that the growing national network of Osher Institutes might eventually contain at least one institute in each of the fifty states.
Contact: Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs, (812) 237-8479
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana State University's Dewey Institute will be undergoing a name change and an expansion in order to become the first and only Osher lifelong learning institute in the state of Indiana.