Phillip Clark, professor and director of the Program in Gerontology, and a state-wide University-community coalition secured a one-year, $100,000 grant from the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation for a start-up program designed to establish a lifelong learning community for adults age 50 and older.
“Our goal is to capture a sense of enthusiasm for learning among older adults,” Clark said. “This program is really about learning for the fun of it. We want to create a sense of excitement with adults learning together.”
As an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, URI offers non-credit educational programs specifically developed for older adults. Courses, three and six weeks in length, are held on a wide range of topics at the URI Main campus in Kingston. Additional programs include lectures, open houses, field trips and special events involving music and theatre performances.
The Lifelong Learning Institute is as much about building community as it is about education, according to Clark. With plans for lunch-and-learn programs and receptions linked to cultural events in communities around the state, the program aims to provide opportunities for social and educational enrichment.
Although the OLLI is housed at URI, programs are not limited to URI Alumni. OLLI membership and programs are open to all Rhode Island residents 50 and older who are interested in being part of a lifelong learning community.